Page 3 Profile: 'Hurricane Joanna' Shields, businesswoman


Click to follow
The Independent Online

And to what does today’s Page 3 profilee owe her distinguished position?

Where do we begin? If American-British business executive, entrepreneur and investor Shields had a LinkedIn profile – sorry, if she needed to bother with one – it would make yours and mine read like something resembling a fast food restaurant’s saver menu.

I’ve completed the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, I’ll have you know.

Starting off in Silicon Valley in 1989, Shields has worked for the likes of Google, Facebook, Bebo and AOL. Now - in what may be her biggest appointment yet - she’s become the first woman on the board of the London Stock Exchange.

OK, so she’s a fast-mover

Which is why they call her Hurricane Joanna. Tearing through the top tech firms of Palo Alto and London, leaving shredded silicon and mere mortals in her wake.

What brought her to these shores?

Moving to the capital in 2000, she soon became Google’s managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa before being poached by former colleague and fellow tech wonder woman Sheryl Sandberg to oversee Facebook in these regions.

So the tide is finally turning for women in business?

Slowly but surely, it seems. Shields’ appointment to the LSX’s board, along with angel investor Sherry Coutu, leaves just two FTSE 100 companies with all-male boards.

And hasn’t this left digital egg on the PM’s face?

Said poaching occurred from her position as boss of the Government’s Tech City initiative and UK ambassador for digital industries in 2012, roles which David Cameron had personally asked her to fill – and for which she refused a £115,000 salary. Her departure left a question mark over the quango, which has had three leaders in four years.

So she’s pro-business?

Duh. She has these choice words on British hesitancy towards entrepreneurs: “Don’t be angry because they’re successful. Put them on a pedestal.”