Baroness Shields (Joanna Shields) OBE is a British-American technology industry veteran and parliamentarian recently reappointed to her second term as UK Minister for Internet Safety and Security and Under-Secretary of State by Prime Minister Theresa May. Previously Digital Advisor to David Cameron, she was made a life Peer in 2014.
An early pioneer in digital technology, before joining the government Joanna spent over 25 years building some of the world’s best known technology companies. She took her first role in product marketing at the National Digital Corporation in 1986 while studying for her master’s degree at George Washington University. After completing her MBA, she moved to Silicon Valley and became a product manager at Electronics for Imaging (Efi) where she worked for eight years becoming VP of Production Systems.
In 1997, she took on her first CEO role at Veon, developing video streaming technology and leading the company to a successful acquisition by Philips. Post acquisition Joanna became VP International at RealNetworks in London. She then re-joined colleagues from Efi to build Decru, a storage encryption appliance company acquired by NetApp. Joanna then joined Google as MD of syndication network (AdSense) and partnerships in EMEA, growing revenue to over $1 billion and leading technology and content acquisition teams for Google Video (YouTube), Books, Maps and Commerce.
In late 2006, Joanna was recruited to run social networking start-up Bebo. In less than 2 years she grew the network to 50 million users. After engineering Bebo's acquisition for $850 million by Aol in May 2008, Joanna served as President of Aol's newly created People Networks division, overseeing all social and communications products including AIM, Aol Instant Messenger and ICQ.
Joanna then joined Facebook as VP MD for EMEA, responsible for building the largest team outside the US and leading the platform developer programme. During her tenure with the company, Facebook grew exponentially, exceeding 1 billion users, filing and completing its initial public offering on NASDAQ.