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Joanna Shields stands down from Tech City UK, replaced by Blackberry’s Gerard Grech

Joanna Shields is to stand down from her position as CEO of Tech City UK.

Shields will continue in her unpaid roles of Chairperson at the organisation and Business Ambassador for digital industries.

The news comes as Tech City News exclusively reveals that the Tech City UK’s London remit will be handed over to London & Partners from the next financial year.



Meanwhile, within one hour of the London Stock Exchange Group PLC announcing Shields will join its board as a Non-Executive Director with immediate effect.

Shields will be replaced by Gerard Grech, pictured right, who is currently leading global marketing for Blackberry World.

In her role as Chairperson, Shields will continue to steer the strategic direction of Tech City UK, whereas Grech will run the day to day operations.

Grech will begin the new role on February 3rd.

[button link=’’]Find out more about Gerard Grech in our interactive timeline [/button]

Series of departures

This comes after the recent departure of Deputy CEO Benjamin Southworth after a one year contract.

Tech City News broke the story back in June and since then Southworth has started work on the Ada Lovelace Academy, a new free school focussed on coding skills.

This followed Rohan Silva, the man behind Tech City, stepping down from his post as Special Advisor to David Cameron in April.

15 months on

Shields was appointed as CEO and Chair of Tech City UK in October 2012, and has been Business Ambassador for the past 12 months.

Joanna currently also serves as a Non-Executive Director of TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC and as a member of Mayor Boris Johnson’s London Smart Board.

Passing the baton

For its first two years TCIO, as Tech City UK was then known, was headed by Eric Van der Kleij, now Head of Level39, Canary Wharf Group.

Van der Kleij called Grech’s appointment “fantastic news for the UK’s digital ambitions”.

Having worked with him before, his combined knowledge of the startup and development stages for technology businesses will help the UK to stand strong in the international technology community.

Tech City spending

Tech City UK – or TCIO as it was then known –  famously spent over £500,000 on events in their first year.

Tech City News has recently obtained financial expenditure information for Tech City UK’s three years in existence.

The details show that although the events budget has reduced to nearly a quarter of what it was, the overall expenditure has remained fairly constant.

2011/12 TOTAL £ 2.1m 2012/13 TOTAL £ 1.79m 2013/14 TOTAL £ 1.7m
Marketing £ 290,000 Marketing £ 150,000 Marketing £ 150,000
Events £ 530,000 Events £ 250,000 Events £ 150,000
Business Specialists £ 980,000 Business Specialists £ 1.17 m Business Specialists £ 1.3m
Civil Servants £ 300,000 Civil Servants £ 220,500 Civil Servants £ 100,000

This year’s budget of £1.7m  works out at less than 0.4% of the £440m Technology Strategy Board expenditure for the same year.

Your reaction

What do you think about Joanna Shields’ departure from her main role?

Leave us your thoughts in the comments below.

Watch out for our profile of Gerard Grech later on today.

image credit: flickr/thinkingdigital