Mel Smith to step down as chief executive of Ocado Retail
Ocado Retail chief executive Mel Smith is to step down from her role at the end of August.
Smith has led the business since it was established in August 2019 as a 50-50 joint venture between Ocado Group and M&S.
As part of a transition process, she will be handing over to Ocado deputy chief executive Lawrence Hene, who will take on the position on an interim basis. Ocado said a permanent successor will be appointed in due course.
Smith said: “It has been a privilege to lead the Ocado Retail team over the last three years. In this period, we have successfully established the joint venture as the UK’s best online grocer with outstanding service, introduced M&S Food to online consumers for the first time, and played our part in feeding the nation through the Covid pandemic.
“After three years now is the right time for me to move on to new challenges and I leave behind a strong business, full of energetic, amazing colleagues that have achieved so many great things and I know will take the business onwards to achieve many more.”
Earlier in her career, Smith also worked with M&S as strategy director.
Tim Steiner, chairman of Ocado Retail, said: “The last two years have been extremely challenging with a pandemic to contend with affecting the grocery market in ways that we could never have predicted. Mel has steered this business through with incredible energy and I would like to thank her for all she has done. There is no question that Mel leaves the business well prepared for faster growth in the years to come. We wish her well in her future endeavours.”