According to reports, Paul Coyle’s arrest is thought to be on suspicion of buying shares in Ocado Group before the two company's online partnership was announced in March. It follows an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority.
He has not been charged but has been suspended from his role.
The Morrisons deal involved the supermarket buying an Ocado distribution centre for £170m. The tie-up, which enabled Morrisons to launch online sales and home deliveries of groceries, strongly boosted Ocado’s share value.
The news comes 10 days after the first deliveries were made under the Ocado deal. It follows a difficult Christmas for the chain, as like-for-like sales at Morrisons dropped 5.6% in the six weeks to 5 January. The retailer blamed a lack of online presence.
Coyle, a former KPMG tax manager, joined Morrisons from the RAC, where he had also been head of tax, in 2006. Prior to that he worked for HMRC.