Friday, 29 October 2010

Boycott Ocado

Ocado was founded in January 2002 by Jonathan Faiman, Jason Gissing, and Tim Steiner, former merchant bankers with Goldman Sachs. When the company first started they ran every part of the business themselves. Ocado is a British Internet retailer specialising in groceries, headquartered in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. Although an independent business, Ocado is partly owned by the John Lewis Partnership pension fund.

Ocado deliver Waitrose Goods. Waitrose is a subsiduary of John Lewis.

In September 2006 Michael Grade became non-executive chairman of Ocado, shortly after Goldman Sachs were appointed as financial advisors. This led to perennial speculation that the business would seek a listing on the stock market. In July 2009 Ocado confirmed it was planning a stock market flotation. In November 2008 the John Lewis Partnership transferred its shareholding of 29% into its staff pension fund. It also agreed a five year supply deal with the business, replacing its previous one year rolling deal. This deal was replaced in May 2010 with a 10 year branding and supply agreement. Procter & Gamble took a 1% stake in the company the same year.

Ocado operates in England's South East, South Coast, Midlands, North West and most of Yorkshire.

The online grocer announced total yearly sales up 25% to £427 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of just £9 million.

With the flotation of the company widely regarded as a shambles Ocado shares fell to 146p, a sizeable discount on its 180p July flotation price, which had been slashed from a hoped for 200-275p range in order to get investors to sign up. Analysts remain divided over the merits of the loss-making business which picks customers' orders from a hi-tech warehouse in Hatfield.

As at March this year Ocado had not made a penny in pre-tax profit. Still, the company has got one million-plus customers, including at least half of all London home grocery shopping. Sceptics in the City doubt that Ocado can ever make money, given high delivery costs, and certainly not on orders of less than £100. Of all the companies represented in the shameful list of 35 Chairmen and CEO's this is the one we can shut down.

Tim SteinerTim Steiner is the Chief Executive Officer of Ocado, and a founding director.

Prior to Ocado, Tim spent eight years as a banker at Goldman Sachs. During his time there, he was based in London, Hong Kong and New York in the Fixed Income division. As CEO, Tim oversees all aspects of the business.

Tim Steiner, 39, went to Haberdashers' Aske School in Elstree before reading economics, finance and accountancy at Manchester University. He then worked in fixed income for Goldman Sachs for eight years, meeting Jason Gissing, who did a degree at Worcester College, Oxford, where he was famously in the same Bullingdon Club photograph as Chancellor George Osborne (below).

Jason Gissing of Ocado is shown as number 8, Osbourne is number 1.

On 18th October, Tim Steiner signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor, his business partner's old drinking buddy, to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since the last time the tories took power and tanked the economy in the early 80's.

For this reason Tim is considered a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott Ocado.

You can get everything you need from the Co-op and they don't charge for deliveries.


  1. I tried to cancel my monthly deliver charge that I'd signed up for but they refused citing t's & c's.

    The main cheer I get from your post is the fact I can use it once or twice a month for the minimum order which will add to their losses. When the monthly deliver charge is up, Ocado will never darken my door again. Thank you for the Co-op shout sounds perfect.

  2. Bullingdon Club too? This is a very good example of the big business society partnership in action.

  3. I've always found Ocado's attempt to ride the eco bandwagon cynical and exploitative. Since I've never been a customer and decided a long time ago that I never would be, my boycott is particularly painless on this occasion. :)

  4. Yes, Anonymous. It's amazing what you find with abit of looking. All these people either know each other or move within similar circles. They are the ones appointing each other to each others' boards and quangos.

  5. This post was edited on 30/10/10 to add the photo. This was to show that the comment linking Ocado with The Bullingdon Club was accurate, as if it had been inaccurate it would have been a terrible slur.