jo hickson

Source: Tesco

The head of Tesco’s research and development arm is departing the company after five years in the role.

Jo Hickson – who took charge of Tesco Labs, the supermarket’s R&D team within Tesco Technology, in early 2019 – is also leaving the UK, and is due to start work as lab director for H&M Group in Stockholm next month.

In a LinkedIn post, Hickson said her tenure at Tesco had “gone by all too quickly”. “I’ve loved the job, the team, the company,” she said.

Prior to Tesco, Hickson had been head of technology at consultancy AKQA; head of innovation for Tui; and head of innovation for Home Retail Group, the former parent company of Argos, Habitat and Homebase.

During Hickson’s time at Tesco, the supermarket launched its checkout-free stores – Tesco GetGo – which allow customers to walk into a store, pick up items and ‘just walk out’. The supermarket now has four GetGo stores – three in London and one in Birmingham at Aston University. The first was launched in High Holborn, central London, in late 2021 and the second, in Chiswell Street, just under a year later.

“We use technology to serve customers a little better every day,” Hickson told The Grocer ahead of the launch of the first GetGo store. “This is a long-term technology play, and at any given time we have a number of innovative and exciting trials going on. It’s important we keep testing concepts to ensure we can best serve customers in five or 10 years’ time.

“We’ll keep testing new ideas, thinking carefully about how technology is applied and checking it benefits customers. When these ideas are fully developed and are proven to provide value to customers, we will consider going further,” she added.

Hickson replaced Angela Maurer in the labs chief role. Maurer had spent 18 years with the supermarket. Maurer took over the role in 2014 having previously been head of innovation for She initially joined Tesco as part of its graduate programme in 2000.