Facebook’s European head Joanna Shields departs
22 October 2012
Facebook vice-president and managing director for EMEA Joanna Shields is leaving the social network to help build a rival Silicon Valley in London.
In her new role, she will head up London’s Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO), a UK-government-sponsored initiative designed to assist the development of tech start-ups.
Shields, who has been with Facebook since 2010, will take up the role of chief executive of TCIO in January 2013. Before joining Facebook, Shields held senior positions at AOL, Bebo and Google.
The American, fomrerly at Deloitte’s Washington DC office, left in 1989 to pursue a career in Silicon Valley, where she went on to become chief executive of Veon in 1997, the video technology company that was later sold to Philips. In 2005, Shields was hired by Google as managing director of its European, Middle Eastern and African operations, although she lasted just two years there. In 2007 Shields was brought in by the social network Bebo as chief executive. Bebo was sold a year later to internet giant AOL for $850m, with Shields heading AOL’s People Networks division. However, she stayed only 14 months there before returning to London and then being hired by Facebook in April 2010.
At TCIO, Shields replaces Eric Van Der Kleij, who left in July to take up a role as advisor to property development, investment and management group of companies, Canary Wharf Group.
“Throughout my career I have had the privilege of working with great entrepreneurs and innovators to create thriving new businesses and industries,” says Shields. “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.”
It is not clear at this stage who will replace Shields at Facebook.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook said: “Joanna has been a tremendous contributor to our EMEA organisation and her leadership and passion will be missed. Facebook supports the UK Government’s vision for building a stronger technology-based economy and start-up ecosystem, and we wish Joanna every success as she moves into her new role at the Tech City Investment Organisation and as the Business Ambassador for Digital Industries.”
Jenni Baker, London