On 3/9/16 2:29 PM, MZMcBride wrote:
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees
oversees the foundation and
appoints its Executive Director. It seems very worrying that this body
> now admitted that it's so out-of-touch with the workings of the
> organization that it ostensibly manages that it cannot fulfill one of its
> most basic duties: appointing an interim Executive Director.
This seems to be partly a problem of communicating what's happening. The
board is accountable for the result, and has final say. Replacing an ED is
indeed the most important decision a board makes. Almost always after close
consultation with senior staff.
In this case, the board and senior team have discussed succession planning
since before Sue decided to leave; I'm sure that hasn't changed in the past
months during this turmoil. My reading is that the board signalled
publicly, to all staff, that in addition to those discussions (and the
various plans or options known to already be on the table), it was
explicitly going to give priority to the preference of senior staff. There
has been a lot of gossip recently about whether or not the board is
listening to whom, and how decisions are being made – so while this
approach wasn't maximally smooth, it was very clear. And communicating
this on wikimedia-l was a transparent update with the community.
We should have had a larger set of contingencies lined up, and a more
explicit pipeline for new exec talent (either external or internal), while
I was on the board. But this particular update seems sane and
considerate. I would be happy to discuss past mistakes we can learn from,
in a different thread.