Ocado appoints Libby Kinsey as head of data science

Ocado newOcado Technology, a division of the online grocery retailer, is beefing up its senior team with the appointment of a new head of data science strategy and operations.

Libby Kinsey spent more than a decade at Nesta Investments as an investment manager and then held a number of business advisory roles before joining Digital Catapult, initially as a consultant, then as interim head of technology and lead technologist for machine learning and artificial intelligence.

In 2016, she co-founded Project Juno, whose team combines academic, entrepreneurial and venture capital experience to help European machine intelligence start-ups.

Founded in 2000, Ocado Technology developed the ecommerce, fulfilment and logistics platform and in the same year signed its first branding and sourcing deal with Waitrose. M&S replaced Waitrose on Ocado’s platform last summer, having signed a deal in August 2019.

However, Ocado Technology is continuing to expand the number of retailers it works with in the online marketplace, although exactly who they are appears shrouded in secrecy.

The division is also actively exploring “a whole host of applications” for its proprietary technology outside of the grocery retail sector in the “intersection of robotics and IoT, cloud platforms, big data, machine learning, software development, and beyond”.

In February. Ocado revealed its sales had passed £2bn last year as the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a global boom in online shopping.

Retail sales rose 35% to £2.2bn, while revenues at its international solutions business increased 52% to £123.9m and sales at its UK logistics and services arm went uo 13.6% to £654.3m.

Overall, group revenue rose by 32.7% to £2.3bn in the 52 weeks to 29 November 2020. Underlying earnings rose 68.8% to £73.1m.

However, exceptional costs of £104.6m pushed Ocado to a full-year loss of £44m. The figure was down on 2019’s loss of £214.5m.

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