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Ocado draws a line under long running legal dispute

Ocado draws a line under long running legal dispute with one of company’s founders

Ocado has drawn a line under a long running legal dispute with one of the company’s founders. 

The grocery delivery business has reached a settlement with Jonathan Faiman after he admitted he used confidential information about Ocado to help set up a rival firm. 

The group sued Faiman and his business partner Jon Hillary – also a former Ocado executive – and their company Project Today Holdings in 2019. 

Food fight: Ocado co-founder Jonathan Faiman (left) with Jason Gissing and Tim Steiner

The settlement brings to an end a long running spat between Faiman and Ocado chief Tim Steiner who have known each other since they were toddlers. 

The two had gone to nursery school together and Steiner was even best man at Faiman’s wedding. 

They set up Ocado in 2000 along with Jason Gissing after working at Goldman Sachs as bond traders, but Faiman left the company in 2008 before it floated in 2010. Nine years later Faiman re-entered the food grocery arena and set up Today, and in May 2019 Faiman struck a deal with Waitrose to replace Ocado as its online partner. But Waitrose ended the deal when Ocado said Today had illegally obtained documents to set up the business and win deals. 

The FTSE100 business accused Faiman and Hillary of ‘corporate espionage’ and conspiracy. 

It sued, alleging that Faiman had used Hillary to access information about its automated warehouses, which have become a cornerstone of Ocado’s strategy over the last few years. 

As part of the settlement the duo acknowledged that Hillary – while still working at Ocado – provided Faiman with detailed information about the warehouses. The pair made a ‘significant’ payment to Ocado, a statement said, though it did not say how much. 

A judge said that following the settlement all the documents and information should be destroyed and never used again, otherwise the pair risk being in ‘contempt of court and may be imprisoned, fined or have your assets seized.’ 

A source close to Ocado described Faiman as a ‘total chancer’ and said the business is a ‘different beast entirely’ from when he was last involved.