Loss-making online grocer Ocado has hired BBC chairman Michael Grade as non-executive chairman. Grade will take up the role in October, once he has stepped down as chairman of financial information services firm Hemscott.

Ocado denied that the appointment was an indication that a flotation of the business was imminent. It said a float was unlikely until 2008.

The move is the latest high profile non-exec appointment in the grocery sector. In May, Sainsbury's hired ex-BBC newsreader Anna Ford as non-executive director.