Meet our leadership team

Melanie Smith - CEO
Melanie Smith

CEO

Hi, I’m Mel. I was appointed CEO of Ocado Retail in 2019, but my Ocado adventure actually started before I joined the company – I was part of the M&S team negotiating the joint venture with Ocado Group. (I obviously loved what I saw!)

Life before Ocado: I was Strategy Director for Marks & Spencer with responsibility for group strategy, M&S Bank and M&S Services. Before that, I was the Bupa Global Strategy and Marketing Director, and Chief Operating Officer at TalkTalk. Before joining the corporate world, I was a partner in McKinsey’s Retail practice, working with grocers on every continent. I hold an LLB (Hons)/Bcom. from Auckland University and an MBA from Kellogg.

Favourite thing about shopping at Ocado: the outstanding range of products that I can get from Ocado that I can’t get anywhere else, this is particularly helpful with my foody French husband – we love the Natoora tomatoes and finocchiona; the Picard mussels and the Reflets de France Chaource.


Lawrence Hene - Deputy CEO
Lawrence Hene

Deputy CEO

Hi, I’m Lawrence. I became Deputy CEO of Ocado Retail following the launch of the joint venture in 2019. My Ocado adventure started in 2009 when I was hired to manage Ocado’s IPO. I took over as Head of Retail in 2010, and ran the Grocery Retail division for nine years, sitting on Ocado’s Management Committee.

Life before Ocado: I was a management consultant at OC&C Strategy Consultants. I also hold a PhD in Biochemistry from Oxford.

Favourite thing about shopping at Ocado: that magical feeling when you ask Alexa for something and it arrives in your next order.


Carolyn Bane - General Counsel and Company Secretary
Carolyn Bane

General Counsel and Company Secretary

Hi, I’m Carolyn. My team’s primary aim is to provide legal and commercial advice to our business. My Ocado adventure began in 2007, so I’ve certainly seen a lot of change! Before moving to Ocado Retail, I was Head of Commercial & Regulatory Legal for Ocado Group.

Life before Ocado: I was a senior lawyer for Cadbury’s in Melbourne, and I hold an Economics (Hons) / Law degree from Monash University, Melbourne. 

Favourite thing about shopping at Ocado: I love the fact that Ocado sells an ‘Aussie’ range which means I never run out of Vegemite.


Claire Tanner - Finance Director
Claire Tanner

Finance Director

Hi, I’m Claire, as Finance Director, my job is to lead the finance team in providing financial insight and control, ensuring we pay our suppliers and business partner our stakeholders.  My Ocado adventure started in December 2017 (I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join a business that was fast-paced; full of opportunities and great people!) 

Life before Ocado: I started my career as part of the Woolworths Group at Entertainment UK (where I qualified as an accountant.) I then worked for Burtons Biscuits in the Commercial Finance team, working with retailers, negotiating joint business plans, building brands and developing new products. I progressed to Commercial Finance Director, leading the separation of the Mondelēz business, negotiating and signing the deal with Mars, leading the international expansion and developing the Commercial Finance team.

Favourite thing about shopping at Ocado: Watching my son excitedly wait at the door to see what colour van will arrive (and greeting the very friendly driver who always takes the shopping into the kitchen.)


Clive Turner - IT Director
Clive Turner

IT Director

Hi, I’m Clive. My job is to build a stable core to support the growth of our business – that means selecting fit-for-purpose platforms for our business, migrating existing systems from Ocado Group, and building robust processes to deliver and support growth. My Ocado adventure started in 2019 at the launch of the new joint venture. 

Life before Ocado: I have over 30 years in the IT industry latterly architecting scalable retail solutions for companies such as the British Heart Foundation, Claire’s Accessories Clarks, Dunelm and some other retail businesses. Prior to that, I had consulting roles at IBM, PA Consulting & SSA, focussing on the pharmaceutical and telecommunications sectors.

Favourite thing about shopping at Ocado: Apart from the quality and convenience, I particularly appreciate the huge choice of world wines and detailed product descriptions.


Elaine Taverner - HR Director
Elaine Taverner

HR Director

Hi, I’m Elaine. I’m responsible for HR, which includes talent acquisition, training, reward and day-to-day HR support. My Ocado adventure started in 2019, when I helped to manage the TUPE process for employees moving from Ocado Group to the new Ocado Retail joint venture (I have a background assisting with a variety of M&A and OD activity across the technology, retail and pharmaceutical sectors.)

Life before Ocado: I was Chief People Officer within private equity with responsibility across a small portfolio of risk management and tech businesses. Before that, I was Senior HR Director at Groupon and Global HR Director for Expedia. 

Favourite thing about shopping at Ocado: the range and ease of ordering, and being able to book for the whole family (including a dog who loves her wild boar flavour nuggets!)


Richard Locke - Operations Director
Richard Locke

Operations Director

Hi, I’m Richard. I’m responsible for the delivery of the services provided by Ocado Logistics (part of Ocado Group). My Ocado adventure started in 2011 when I helped to launch the General Merchandise division. Over the years I have held a variety of roles in General Merchandise, ending up on Ocado Group’s Management Committee as the Director of General Merchandise.

Life before Ocado: I was a Consultant with Oliver Wyman, working mostly on Retail and Rail. Before that, I took Engineering at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Favourite thing about shopping at Ocado: The breadth of range, and how forgiving Ocado is with my lack of forward planning! With gluten and dairy intolerance in my family, the breadth of products that cater to our needs is fantastic. I can realise I only have enough food in the fridge for one more meal and have a full shop arrive less than 12 hours later. This has saved my children from freezer tapas on many, many occasions.


Rose Price - Buying Director
Rose Price

Buying Director

Hi, I’m Rose. I’m responsible for buying, Ocado own-label, product development and food tech. My Ocado adventure started in 2010 when I joined as Head of Buying. I have vast experience in the food industry, encompassing food retailing, cash and carry and supply chain, and I have an industry reputation for my knowledge from ‘farm gate to plate’. I can definitely say I understand the former really well, as I am married to a farmer; as a result, breakfast conversations in our house can be particularly interesting and intense, especially when prices are falling!

Life before Ocado: I started out in the meat industry back when it was very much a man’s world. I then moved into the grocery sector, starting as a store trainee, then moved on to be in charge of procurement for a large food manufacturer. I then moved to Safeway as a Trading Controller for Protein. My passion to work abroad me took me to France for a two year stint at Metro’s training academy (I can still order the essentials in French: wine and coffee!), then to Somerfield as Head of Buying. Next, I moved into online as Buying Director for Abel & Cole which gave me the taste for eCommerce. I hold an MBA from the University of Stirling.

Favourite thing about shopping at Ocado: being able to order fresh flowers.


Thomas Thomaidis - Marketing Director
Thomas Thomaidis

Marketing Director

Hi, I’m Thomas. I’m responsible for marketing and insight for Ocado Retail. My Ocado ride started in 2010 when I took on solutions development and analytics for our Trading team. I became Head of Marketing and Grocery Insight in 2013, with responsibility for setting our marketing direction and leading insight across our grocery business. Nine years after joining, I still find that I’m constantly learning new things, and love thinking about how to serve customers with smart and respectful communications.

Life before Ocado: I have a degree in Engineering from Cambridge and a Masters in Operational Research from UC Berkeley. I’ve worked in retail analytics and marketing for most of my career, including a stretch at the company that ran Nectar points.

Favourite thing about shopping at Ocado: Stockyard Kansas City Barbecue Sauce – it’s not a sauce, it’s an adventure!