Tech City CEO Joanna Shields steps down and takes London Stock Exchange role

By Jessica Davies | News Editor

January 17, 2014 | 3 min read

Joanna Shields is stepping down from her role as CEO of Tech City UK and is taking a non-executive position at the London Stock Exchange. Shields, who was previously Facebook’s vice president and managing director for EMEA, joined the government body whose goal is to help cultivate a technology hub in London’s East End to rival that of Silicon Valley and other major tech centres, a year ago. She will be replaced by Gerard Grech, who held the role of senior director of BlackBerry World Marketing since September 2013.Shields will continue to be involved in Tech City UK where she will remain as UK chairman and business ambassador, both unpaid roles. Her new responsibilities for Tech City will see her play a "strategic role" in working with government on policy to support growth and entrepreneurship, while focusing on building and promoting the UK tech and digital sector globally in her capacity as UK business ambassador for digital Industries, according to Tech City. Shields said: “There is incredible momentum in the UK tech and digital sector and I am delighted to welcome Gerard as our new CEO during this exciting time. He is an East London resident who’s had a front row seat in the evolution of web and mobile platforms over the past decade. He brings a strong combination of start-up and corporate development knowledge to the team plus many years experience in developing and marketing digital products and services.“The Government has created a policy landscape that’s transformed the UK’s start-up scene; our goal now is to build on these foundations and help growth-stage businesses scale rapidly and generate jobs. I will continue to champion the UK’s digital industry as chairman of Tech City UK and in my role as business ambassador.”Grech, who will take up his role as CEO on 3 February, said Tech City is a "blueprint" for what can be achieved with the right people and the right policies work together. "London has become a leading centre for digital innovation and entrepreneurship and my role, together with Joanna and the team, will be to help take things to the next level, delivering on key initiatives, introducing more partnerships and further solidifying Tech City in the international tech scene. As a Shoreditch resident, I'm especially keen that our initiatives serve the wider local community, keeping the ground fertile for the next wave of digital start-ups. I'm delighted to be joining the team at this exciting time," he said. Tech City is the government initiative created by Prime Minister David Cameron three years ago to support East London’s emerging tech community, and aimed at attracting investment to the area with the view to helping young, innovative start-ups based there to become cornerstones of economic growth. Last year, Shields was named as one of 20 inductees into the BIMA Hall of Fame.

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