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Joanna Shields becomes a peer

Caroline Baldwin

Former Tech City CEO and the prime minister’s adviser on the digital economy, Joanna Shields, has been appointed to the House of Lords as a life peer.

Shields has worked with some of the world’s biggest technology companies, including Google, AOL and Facebook, and has led several startups, including Bebo, to successful acquisitions.

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Shields, who has dual UK /US citizenship, said she was very proud to serve in the House of Lords.

“Today, technology is re-imagining every aspect of our lives and our economy,” she said. “In the process, it creates unprecedented opportunities for growth and prosperity. We must ensure we capitalise on our strengths as a nation to build the skills and capabilities that will drive the UK forward, to help us lead in the global race,” she said.

Shields, a previous winner of the Computer Weekly Most Influential Woman in UK IT, currently advises prime minister David Cameron on policy matters in the digital industry. Her goal is to focus on digital entrepreneurship.

She headed up the government initiative Tech City UK as CEO until she stepped down in January 2014, but she continues as executive chairman of the organisation.

Shields was replaced as CEO by former BlackBerry marketing director Gerard Grech, who is keen to push the Tech City brand out to the rest of the UK and support technology startup clusters outside London.

Dido Harding, chief executive of TalkTalk, also received a peerage today, alongside Karren Brady, vice-chairman of West Ham United football club, who also appears on The Apprentice.


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