David Cameron has appointed former Tech City CEO Joanna Shields (pictured) as parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
It has not yet been highlighted what responsibilities Shields will have, but due to her background surrounding startups and digital, the unpaid position may see her assisting with small businesses, digital economy and digital adoption.
The position is directly under minister of state for DCMS Ed Vaizey, who is responsible for areas such as broadband delivery, as well as telecommunications and media policy, on behalf of DCMS. Vaizey also looks after digital economy, digital entrepreneurship and digital skills for the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).
Shields has worked in the industry for 15 years and previously held positions at several digital firms, including Google, Facebook and AOL, before jumping ship to support the development of London’s Silicon Roundabout.
Throughout her career she has been heavily invested in the startup scene and has advised several successful startups to acquisitions.
Read more about Joanna Shields
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Shields, who has dual US and UK citizenship, became part of the government’s Digital Taskforce as the prime minister’s digital adviser after stepping down as the CEO of Tech City UK.
As part of the Digital Taskforce, which was headed up by Government Digital Service creator Francis Maude, Shields focused on digital entrepreneurship.
She is now chair of Tech City UK and is a non-executive director at the London Stock Exchange Group, helping to drive forward the delivery of innovative technology solutions.
In 2014, Shields was appointed to the House of Lords as a life peer, and urged the UK to build upon its strengths to drive skills and growth in relevant sectors.
She won Computer Weekly’s Most Influential Woman in UK IT award in 2013, and is now one of the many women holding positions in government following the prime minister’s cabinet reshuffle.