Ocado non-food director Simon Belsham has left the online grocer just 18 months after joining the business.

It is understood that Belsham will rejoin Tesco where he was formerly group multichannel development director reporting to Laura Wade-Gery, now Marks & Spencer’s online boss, the Financial Times reported.

Belsham leaves Ocado amid a project to rapidly expand the etailer’s non-food business and his departure will come as a blow to chief executive Tim Steiner who is aiming to transform the retailer from “supermarket to hypermarket”.

It is understood Belsham - who had been spearheading the project alongside head of non-food James Matthews - will rejoin Tesco, which he left for Ocado, next spring.

The move comes as Ocado is poised to open a new 80,000 sq ft non-food warehouse in Welwyn in the first half of next year as well as its second 360,000 sq ft grocery warehouse in Dordon, Warwickshire.

Ocado has been building up a range of non-food categories including homeware, kitchenware, car and pet products over the last 18 months and is set to launch a tranche of dedicated non-food websites for a number of categories next year.