Ocado boss delivers 
for Ort


Tim Steiner has no regrets about giving up a successful career at Goldman Sachs to “sell baked beans”.

The Ocado online supermarket boss was guest speaker at an Ort UK business breakfast in central London.

Interviewed by broadcaster Samantha Simmonds, Mr Steiner said that hailing “from a family of traditional entrepreneurial business people, starting a business was always an interest of mine.

“For me, there was an attraction to the size of the grocery market and the number of customers.

“I thought, ‘if you can get them to shop with you and you know them and they know you, hopefully it is harder for someone to come in and steal your market share’.

“That was my rational thinking behind an irrational decision to leave a great employer to sell baked beans.”

Although Ocado has yet to achieve a one per cent share of the UK market, Mr Steiner believes “technology will influence shopping missions.

“We will spend £60 million this year on research and development to develop solutions for the industry,” he told the 200 guests. “If we are 10 per cent as successful as we’d like to be, we’ll be multiple times the size we are today.”

At the breakfast, which raised £50,000, guests were also told about the technological and Jewish education provided at the charity’s schools in Russia.

“It is the focus on science and education that will enable these young people to lead economically independent lives free of the poverty and difficulties that many of their parents and grandparents faced,” explained Simon Alberga, Ort UK’s chairman.

Mr Steiner noted an improvement in the UK government’s attitude towards technology teaching. “I think we are making some better strides by putting [computer] programming on the curriculum.

“When the government introduced coding, there were no materials for schools. One of our major corporate social responsibility projects is Code For Life, where we developed an online teaching programme for schools.”

It has been used by 80,000 students in a 56 countries.

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