Former Morrisons digital executive set to head new start-up

THE former head of digital development at Yorkshire supermarket chain Morrisons is to lead a start-up funded by digital incubator Haatch.

Simon Harrow quit Morrisons earlier this month. The former chief operating officer at Kiddicare moved to Morrisons after the supermarket snapped up the baby products business in 2011 and will now will rejoin his former Kiddicare colleagues, including chief Scott Weavers-Wright, who set up digital incubator Haatch after leaving Morrisons, according to Retail Week.

Retail Week said the details of the start-up are yet to be revealed but Harrow has been brought in for his digital and innovation expertise and will build a team around him.

Harrow told Retail Week: “It’s a pleasure to be back working with the team that made Kiddicare such a success and I’m looking forward to the new challenge that Haatch offers me in addition to announcing a new start up in the coming months.”

Haatch was founded by Weavers-Wright, his wife Elaine and former Kiddicare and Morrisons digital executive Fred Soneya in October 2013. It helps technology start-ups “make the grade” and labels its investments as “smart money,” with chosen innovators receiving practical help, guidance and expertise they need to succeed alongside the required capital investment. A £1.5m “incubator hub” is being developed in Stamford, Lincolnshire, which will provide a base for the new technology firms to develop their ideas, collaborate and grow their businesses from development stage to launch.

Last month Morrisons revealed it slumped to a £176m loss last year and expects the challenging market to continue for the rest of this year.

The Bradford-based group went from a profit of £879m the year before to a loss of £176m in the 12 months to February.

Chairman Sir Ian Gibson called it a “disappointing year for Morrisons” as turnover fell by 2% to £17.7bn for the UK’s fourth biggest supermarket chain.

He said that consumer confidence and market conditions had continued to be challenging and the challenging consumer and market environment in 2013 would continue through the coming year.