Tech City to appoint new CEO

Digital media veteran Gerard Grech to focus on new partnerships and initiatives in 2014

Tech City CEO Joanna Shields today announced the appointment of Gerard Grech as her incoming replacement, bringing another private sector tech veteran into the burgeoning initiative.

Grech will replace Shields on February 3 of this year, in an appointment which will see Shields continue as chairman and play a lead strategic role within Tech City, working with government to support the growth of the tech industry.

Shields will also continue to promote the UK tech sector internationally in her capacity as UK Business Administrator for Digital Industries.

Tech City said incoming CEO Grech would bring a wealth of experience to the position, having held management positions at Blackberry, Nokia and Orange for more than 15 years.

He is currently global marketing director for Blackberry World, working between New York and London.

The appointment caps another successful year for Tech City, which was created by the Prime Minister 10 years ago to bring together and support East London’s growing tech community.

In December 2013, the initiative published independent research which showed that the number of technology companies in London increased 76% since Tech City UK’s creation, whilst the tech sector in the capital was responsible for 27% of London’s job growth.

Across 2013 Tech City was responsible for several national initiatives, including ‘Future Fifty’ – a scheme that rewarded 50 high-growth UK tech businesses with a package of support in order to accelerate their progress towards public offerings.

Commenting on the appointment, Tech City chairman and CEO 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.”

Gerard Grech said: “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.”

Eric Van der Kleij, the original CEO of the government’s Tech City Investment Organisation, was also quick to hail the likely impact of “experienced, talented and proactive” Grech.

“His appointment to CEO of Tech City UK is fantastic news for UK’s digital ambitions,” said the CEO of Canary Wharf-based financial, retail and smart city technology accelerator Level39.

“Having worked with him before, his combined knowledge of the startup and development stages for technology businesses will help the UK to stand strong in the international technology community and enable us to continue to attract talent and investment, building on the success of our digital economy to date.”

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