Tech City CEO Joanna Shields To Be Replaced By BlackBerry’s Gerard Grech

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Joanna Shields steps down as Tech City CEO next month. She’s now on the board of the London Stock Exchange

Tech City UK CEO Joanna Shields will leave her position next month and will be replaced by BlackBerry’s Gerard Grech as head of London’s tech hub in East London.

Shields was only appointed as CEO in October 2012, having previously served as Facebook’s vice-president and managing director for EMEA as well as positions at Bebo, AOL, RealNetworks and Google.

No reason for her departure has been given, but she will continue to serve as Chairman, “playing a leading strategic role” and working with the government on policies to support growth and entrepreneurship and to promote the UK tech and digital sector globally in her capacity as UK Business Ambassador for Digital Industries.

It was also announced today, that Shields has been appointed as a non-executive director of the London Stock Exchange, along with angel investor Sherry Coutu, with a brief to encourage more tech companies to list in London.

Tech City CEO

Gerard Grech Tech City CEO“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,” she said.

“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 (pictured), who is currently leading the global marketing for BlackBerry World (the company’s app store), has previously worked at Orange and Nokia, where he identified investment opportunities for Nokia Growth Partners.

Tech City says his 15 years of international management experience, during which he worked with developers and startups in London, New York and Paris, was one of the reasons for his appointment, while the fact he lives in Shoreditch already means he passes the hipster test with flying colours.

“Tech City is a blueprint for what can be achieved when the right people and the right policies work together,” said Grech. “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.”

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