Andrew Bracey has today announced his intention to step down as Chief Financial Officer at online grocery firm Ocado and join international recruiters Michael Page.
A formal process to find a replacement for Bracey has now commenced, with the experienced executive not set to leave until the end of the financial year in April.
In a further shake-up of the management structure, co-founder of Ocado Jason Gissing will now take on the new role of Commercial Director, taking charge of the company’s retail activities such as buying, brand development, marketing and customer relations.
Neill Abrams, currently Executive Director and Director of Legal & Business Affairs, will take over Jason Gissing’s HR responsibilities and Head of Technology Mark Richardson is to be promoted to the board in a new position as Operations Director.
Operational issues at its Hatfield distribution site recently caused serious disruption for the e-tailer and it is understood that its CEO Tim Steiner has been trying to find a buyer for the business, which only floated on the stock market last year.
Clive Black, analyst at Shore Capital thinks that an imminent deal for Ocado now looks unlikely: “Well, we would be surprised if there is a bid is coming for Ocado. Whilst we must never say never, it would be remarkable to our minds for a executive to leave a company ahead of a bid in our view, particularly the CFO!”
“As for the management changes, well they do not suggest to us that the non-executive directors’ are totally happy with the performance at Camp Hatfield.
“As such there is a need for meaningful change to presumably sharpen the operating performance of a business that in a short period of time has become a source of repeated and sustained disappointment to us, the market and its investors.”
Wendy Becker, a former director of Talk Talk Telecom and Group Chief Marketing Officer for Vodafone, has also joined Ocado as an independent non-executive director.
Bracey said that his decision to leave was difficult but that he could not pass up what he decribed as a “great opportunity”.
Steiner commented: “We are grateful to Andrew Bracey for his vital contribution at the IPO and in our time as a public company. He has been a great friend to the business and a wonderful colleague. We wish him well.
“I am delighted that Jason, Neill and Mark have taken on their new roles and look forward to working closely with them to ensure the continued development of Ocado.”