Facebook boss joins east London Tech City project

Pic: Joanna Shields

Facebook’s European boss Joanna Shields is taking her talents to East London boroughs, including Hackney, to head the UK government’s investment group for technology start-ups.

The Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO) was established in April 2011 with the intention of raising the profile of UK technology companies, especially start-up companies, and promoting the UK as the place to move to for prospective entrepreneurs.

Shields’ has been Facebook’s vice-president and managing director of Europe, Middle East and Africa since 2010.

She said: “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.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Joanna’s experience will be hugely valuable in supporting Tech City as it goes from strength to strength,

“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.”

Jennette Arnold, Labour London Assembly Member for Hackney welcomes Sheilds’ arrival to East London and hopes it will inspire women at work.

Arnold said: “It’s fantastic to have somebody appointed who has such a strong background in leading a global technology brand and who can send a strong signal to young women about achieving success in their chosen careers.

Arnold describes the many issues facing start-up firms including concerns about finding affordable workspaces, securing adequate funding and support. She is seeking a meeting with Sheilds to discuss how to solve these issues.

Arnold said she intends to: “…discuss how through her leadership of TCIO we can meet these challenges and deepen community ties with tech city.”

Shields will replace current head Eric Van Der Kleij in January 2013.

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