|The Baroness Shields
July 12, 1962 |
St. Marys, Pennsylvania,
|Alma mater||Penn State and
George Washington Univs
|Occupation||Digital SPAD to HMG;
former Chair, Tech City UK.
|Parents||Thomas and Kaye Shields|
Joanna Shields, Baroness Shields, OBE (born 12 July 1962) is an Anglo-American entrepreneur, business investor and since 2014, a British parliamentarian, sitting on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords, following PM David Cameron's recommendation to HM The Queen for her to be created a Life Peer.
Baroness Shields serves as Digital Advisor to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and is a Non-Executive Director of the London Stock Exchange Group and was Chair of Tech City UK at Hoxton in London. She was appointed a Life Peeress in September 2014 and introduced in the House of Lords on 16 October 2014.
Since 1987, Baroness Shields has developed and grown some of the world's best-known technology companies, including Electronics for Imaging (Efi), RealNetworks, Google, Bebo, Aol and Facebook. Following her relocation from Silicon Valley, California to London in 2000, she holds dual US/British citizenship.
She was Vice President and Managing Director of Facebook in Europe, Middle East and Africa, prior to which she served as President of People Networks at Aol, a position she assumed after the acquisition of Bebo by Time Warner's Aol unit. At Bebo, Shields was CEO, leading the company's growth to 50M users and eventual acquisition for $850 million. Prior to this position she worked for Google as Managing Director of Europe, Russia, Middle East & Africa.
Shields was ranked #1 on the Wired 100 in 2011 and #6 in the MediaGuardian 100 in 2012. In February 2013 she was named to the list of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour. In July 2013 Computer Weekly named Shields the Most Influential Woman in UK IT. In July 2013 she received the British Interactive Media Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Shields was born in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, the second of five children. Her father, a metallurgist, started up his own manufacturing company in the late 1960s which he sold in 1986 to Gleason of Rochester, NY.
In 1984 as a graduate business student, Shields worked part-time at the National Affairs Office of Deloitte in Washington, D.C. Shields was assigned the task of writing a business plan for a start-up called NDC (National Digital Corporation), an early pioneer in the transmission and archival of digital media that was acquired by Gruner & Jahr. During her time there she became convinced that digital technology was going to change the way we live our lives and interact with each other.
While at NDC, Shields met Israeli entrepreneur and founder of Scitex, Efi Arazi, who had formed a new venture called Efi (Electronics for Imaging, Nasdaq:EFII). In 1989 she moved to Silicon Valley and joined the company, where she began working as a product manager and over the course of eight years rose through the ranks to become VP of Production Systems, a division that designed, built and manufactured ASICs, embedded controllers and servers that connected digital printing systems to networks from companies such as HP, Canon, Ricoh, Minolta, Fuji Xerox and Kodak.
In 1997 Shields became CEO of Veon, an interactive video technology company whose intellectual property included patents for adding interactive links to video streams that became part of the MPEG4 streaming video standard. Philips acquired Veon in 2000. After closing the Veon transaction, Shields was hired by the company that invented streaming audio and video, RealNetworks, to run its businesses outside the United States.
Shields briefly joined former Efi CEO and colleague, Dan Avida, to build the business of a storage encryption company he founded called Decru, where she played an instrumental role in forming a partnership with Network Appliance, the company that eventually acquired Decru for $272m.
Shields then became Google’s MD for Europe, Middle East and Africa where she was responsible for developing the company’s advertising syndication business, AdSense, and for the acquisition of content and partnerships for such products such as Google Mail, Video (before the YouTube acquisition), Maps, Local, News and Books.
In late 2006 Shields was approached by Benchmark Capital to run social networking startup Bebo. At Bebo, Shields introduced Open Media, opening Bebo's platform for media companies to reach its 50M user base and enabling media owners to monetize their content, and Bebo Originals, a series of original online shows. The first Bebo Original KateModern was viewed 85M times, was nominated for two BAFTA awards and won the Broadcasting Press Guild Innovation Award for Outstanding Development in Broadcasting.
After engineering Bebo's acquisition for $850m by Aol in May 2008, Shields briefly relocated to New York City to head Aol’s newly created People Networks, overseeing the company's social and communications assets including AIM, Aol Instant Messenger and ICQ. Bebo’s development continued under Shields with the release of Timeline in 2009, the first social network to organize and represent life events in a linear way. Timeline eventually became standard on social networks when Facebook released the feature in 2012.
In 2009 Shields was recruited by former Google colleague Sheryl Sandberg to run Facebook in Europe, Middle East & Africa as VP & Managing Director. In her role she built EMEA into the company's largest region, focusing on making Facebook the world's most valuable marketing, communications and customer services platform for brands and leveraging Facebook’s Open Graph as a growth engine for some of Europe’s hottest startups and established businesses.
In October 2012 Shields was recruited by Prime Minister Cameron to lead HM Government's Tech City initiative and become the UK's Ambassador for Digital Industries.Shields receives no payment for her government work. During her time at Tech City, she has worked with the London Stock Exchange to launch the new high growth segment and created Future Fifty, a programme to identify the 50 fastest growing businesses and support them on the path to an IPO. Future Fifty was launched by the Chancellor George Osborne in April 2013. Shields is also involved in promoting the policies and conditions that foster entrepreneurship across the EU and, along with eight other leading EU entrepreneurs, launched the EU Startup Manifesto, which aims to transform the European Union into a startup-friendly region.
Shields serves as a Non-Executive Director on the board of the London Stock Exchange Group and sits on Mayor Boris Johnson’s London Smart Board. In 2013 she was appointed to the EU Web Entrepreneurs Leaders' Club by EU Commissioner and Vice President, Neelie Kroes.
Shields was appointed OBE in the 2014 New Year Honours List for "services to digital industries and voluntary service to young people". After being nominated as a working peeress in August 2014, Shields was elevated to the peerage on 16 September 2014 taking the title Baroness Shields, of Maida Vale in the City of Westminster.
She was a Trustee of Save the Children UK, served on the Prince's Trust Internet and Media Leadership Group and was a member of the UK's Government's Women’s Business Council and the Tech City Advisory Group.
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