News story

Joanna Shields to lead Tech City Investment Organisation

Joanna Shields will also take up position as Business Ambassador for the Digital Industries.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The government today announced the appointment of Joanna Shields as Chief Executive of the Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO).

Joanna is leaving Facebook, where she is Vice-President and Managing Director Europe, Middle East and Africa, to take up the role at the Tech City Investment Organisation in January 2013.

In addition to becoming chief executive of TCIO, she will also take up position as Business Ambassador for the Digital Industries.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

I’m delighted that Joanna is joining the Tech City Investment Organisation. The success of Tech City shows just what can happen when we back some of our most innovative and aspiring companies to grow, helping the UK compete and thrive in the global race. Joanna’s experience will be hugely valuable in supporting Tech City as it goes from strength to strength, and as a Business Ambassador promoting the UK around the world.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

Tech City is at the forefront of driving growth and supporting some of our most innovative businesses, and we want to see it continue to thrive.

Joanna Shields brings a wealth of experience working with one of the most well-known online companies, and I’m confident she has the ability to build on this success and bang the drum for the UK digital sector overseas.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said:

Tech City is a great success story and I believe Joanna Shields has the expertise and ability to make a hugely valuable contribution to its development.

The UK has a creative and dynamic digital industries sector that we want to see grow even further and provide a real boost to our economy. Joanna’s appointment as Business Ambassador is a statement of our ambition for overseas trade in this sector and to attract new investment into British businesses.

Joanna Shields said:

Working in the UK for the past decade has proven to me that this country has the potential to become a major force in digital innovation.  I’m thrilled to be taking this position at the Tech City Investment Organisation and proud to be a Business Ambassador for the UK for Digital Industries.

Throughout my career I have had the privilege of working with great entrepreneurs and innovators to create thriving new businesses and industries. The seeds have been sown in East London for a dynamic and successful cluster: we have the infrastructure, the technology and the talent, now we need to accelerate the growth.  I am looking forward to leading the Tech City Investment Organisation in the next phase of its development. With the right boost now, there is no reason why we can’t make London the number one location for tech in the world.

Before joining Facebook, Shields was President at AOL, responsible for social and communications businesses, and previously served as chief executive of Bebo. She has also been Google’s Managing Director for Europe, Russia, Middle East & Africa.

TCIO was set up in April 2011 as part of UK Trade and Investment to help by attracting inward investment, and supporting companies in the cluster who want to expand into international markets.

Organisations in Tech City now include Google, Intel, Cisco, General Assembly, University College London and Imperial College London.

Notes to editors

1.    Joanna Shields currently serves as Vice President and Managing Director of Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Facebook.

2.    She was named as Wired Magazine’s “Most Influential Person in European Technology” in 2011, and the 6th most influential person in global media by the Media Guardian in 2012.

3.    The Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO) was set up by UKTI in April 2011 to support the growth of the tech cluster in East London, helping to make it Europe’s centre of innovation and the location of choice for tech and digital companies and investors. Our objectives are to: assist in securing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Tech City; engage with overseas VCs and help them to set up or start evaluating deal-flow in Tech City; and support the cluster, and raise its profile internationally.

4.    The Business Ambassadors Network was created in October 2008, with a particular focus on helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which sometimes face greater barriers to accessing global markets than larger businesses. The roles are unpaid.

5.    UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy - acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit or telephone +44 (0)207 215 8000. For latest press releases, visit the online newsroom at

6.    The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.’ It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across Government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the Government wants the economy to travel.

External site: Tech City Investment Organisation

Published 21 October 2012