Sir Stuart Rose has been appointed chairman of online grocer Ocado, in a stock market comeback, replacing Lord Grade, who is standing down after seven years.
Rose will start the role from March 11.
Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner said: “Sir Stuart is joining Ocado as we enter a hugely exciting period, with a near doubling of our capacity. We are looking forward to benefiting from his extensive retail experience and counsel.
“Lord Grade has been a great asset to the company during his tenure as chairman of the board and personally a great support to me. We are grateful to him for his guidance, insight and expertise over the years and wish him well in his retirement.”
It will be Rose’s largest role since he left Marks & Spencer as chairman at the end of 2010.
Since his departure from M&S Rose has taken on several part-time roles, including acting as an adviser to Bridgepoint, the private equity firm. He is also the chairman of fashion retailer Blue Inc, and online fashion recommendation site Dressipi.
Sir Stuart Rose said: “I have been very impressed at the impact and progress Ocado has made to date. As retail goes through a fundamental shift into the digital world, I believe Ocado’s model and the high standards of customer service it provides will see it emerge as a powerful online player.
“I am looking forward to being part of the team.”
The appointment of Rose will be a big win for Ocado, which has never recorded an annual profit since it launched ten years ago. It floated on the stock exchange three years ago.
Lord Grade added: “After a smooth succession process and having secured a new chairman my job at Ocado is almost complete. After six exhilarating and eventful years, I am leaving the company in the best possible hands. Sir Stuart’s substantial retail experience and commercial acumen will add significant value. Ocado is one of the most innovative and exciting growth companies in the UK and it has been a privilege to be a part of their story.”
Ocado also revealed Wendy Becker will be stepping down as chairman of the remuneration committee, to be replaced by Douglas McCallum. She plans to focus on her role as chief operating officer at Jack Wills.