17 January 2014: Tech City UK’s CEO, Joanna Shields today announced the appointment of Gerard Grech as incoming CEO for Tech City UK, effective from February 3, 2014. Joanna has held the CEO position since October 2012 and will continue as Chairman, playing a lead strategic role working with government on policy to support growth and entrepreneurship and focusing on building and promoting the UK tech and digital sector globally in her capacity as UK Business Ambassador for Digital Industries.
Gerard brings over 15 years of international management experience in the world of digital media, web and mobile to the Tech City UK team, having worked with app developers and start-ups at Blackberry, Nokia, Nokia Growth Partners and Orange in Paris, London and New York.
Joanna Shields said: “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. He is an East London resident who’s had a front row seat in the evolution of web and mobile platforms over the past decade. He brings a strong combination of start-up and corporate development knowledge to the team plus many years experience in developing and marketing digital products and services.
“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.”
In December, Tech City announced independent research highlighting the tech and digital sector’s role in spearheading the London’s economic recovery. Figures published in the Tech City Third Anniversary Report show the number of technology companies in London increased 76% from 2009 – 2012 and that the tech sector in the capital grew by nearly 17% in the same period, responsible for 27% of London’s job growth.
The Tech City initiative was created by the Prime Minister three years ago to support East London’s emerging tech community, to draw investment to the area and to help the young, innovative start-ups based there to become cornerstones of economic growth. In that time, Tech City has fuelled London’s transformation as Europe’s digital capital, as Government policies developed to support and accelerate the success of innovative technology firms have attracted investment and major tech brands from across the world.
Gerard Grech said: “Tech City is a blueprint for what can be achieved when the right people and the right policies work together. 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.“
In 2013, Tech City UK initiated several national programmes, including the Future Fifty – a Government-backed scheme that matches selected high growth stage businesses with bespoke public and private sector support to catalyse their growth, create jobs and deliver significant economic impact to the UK – and the UK tech and business cluster alliance, that brings together leaders from across the country to share digital expertise, knowledge and insights to help shape national policy. The continued development and success of these programmes will be a core focus going forward.
Reshma Sohoni, Partner at Seedcamp said: "It is a credit to Tech City UK that they continue to bring such talented individuals from the private sector into helping the tech cluster grow further and stronger. Having worked with Gerard at Nokia through their sponsorship and support of Seedcamp, I know he understands well the spectrum from startups to building huge global businesses. We are thrilled he is staying active in London and will bring his wealth of experience to furthering our collective aims.”
Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners said: “I am very glad to welcome Gerard to his new role. Our organisations have already worked together very well to promote London’s booming tech scene, and we will continue to encourage even more new companies and investors to benefit from being here. As one of the world’s great cities, London provides huge opportunities for smart technology firms who are keen to pursue innovative business strategies.”
Notes to Editors
Joanna Shields will receive no remuneration from government for her role as Chairman of Tech City UK.
Gerard Grech, incoming Tech City UK CEO has 15 years’ experience in the world of digital media, web and mobile, working directly with app developers and start-ups. His international strategy, operations and marketing experience has given him global vision as well as local expertise. Gerard is currently leading global marketing for Blackberry World, working between New York and London. Before Blackberry, he was with Nokia, where, in New York and London, he led the app store’s marketing operations, ran the app strategy and portfolio development team and, most recently, identified and assessed equity investment opportunities for Nokia Growth Partners, Nokia’s venture arm, as well as striking partnerships with Seedcamp, Techstars and Entrepreneur First. He was also group head of Music and Video at Orange, group director of strategy and Business Development at Orange’s Content Division in Paris and founder and chair of the Mobile Entertainment Forum’s EMEA chapter.
The Tech City Third Anniversary Report is available to download from Dropbox.