Interview: How Tim Steiner’s ‘never satisfied’ attitude has shaped Ocado

Tim Steiner

Ocado boss Tim Steiner’s ‘never satisfied’ attitude has driven the business on to great success, making him a worthy winner of the Clarity Retail Leader of the Year.

Why can’t the UK create an Amazon, a Facebook or a Google, you often hear people ask. While it might not be on quite the scale of those tech powerhouses, Ocado is probably the closest that UK retail has come – and that is testament to the leadership of co-founder Tim Steiner.

Over the two decades since he established the business in 2000 – helped by financial backing in the early days from investors including John Lewis Partnership – Ocado has grown to become an etail and tech giant. Sales last year topped £1.7bn, as revenues from its online grocery business jumped 10.3%, quicker growth than any of its UK food retail rivals.

That is tribute to Steiner’s vision, resilience, and entrepreneurial verve. His leading role is humorously reflected in the name of Ocado’s HQ canteen, Tim’s Diner – a decision which, he hastens to add, had nothing to do with him.

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