Facebook just lost its MD of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, to the British Government. Joanna Shields will be starting as head of the Tech City Investment Organisation in January, and all for a £115,000 salary. “I was ready for a change and I felt that public service might be that change,” she told the Sunday Telegraph yesterday.
Shields’ role will be a tough one. As well as looking after VCs and other potential investors, she will be trying to attract foreign funds for startups, encouraging legal firms to use their expertise and join the melee, and making sure that the best of homegrown–and overseas–talent makes the leap from British universities to these nascent businesses. There is one fly in the ointment, though: The snail-like pace of the British civil service may make Shields’ hanker for a return to the private sector.