Dear fellow community members,
On behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees I am delighted to announce that
the new Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation will be Lila Tretikov. Lila is a
widely respected Bay Area technology leader, most recently with SugarCRM.
As many of you know, about a year ago Sue Gardner announced she planned to step down as
our ED. As we launched the search for her successor, we spent some time working through
the most critical requirements for the role. We decided the new ED should be someone with
a product/engineering background, ideally in an open-source or other online community
context. We wanted someone experienced with organisations that were growing, who'd
managed staff and budgets comparable to ours, and who had experience creating continuous
delivery of technology improvements in an agile context. We wanted a person who is
oriented towards collaboration, transparency and openness, with some experience with
complex stakeholder environments, and with an international orientation. We knew we needed
someone with courage and strong personal integrity, who wouldn't be intimidated by
attempts to censor the projects.
Lila is precisely what we set out to find.
Lila was born in the Soviet Union and moved to the United States alone, as a teenager.
She's been working for technology companies, primarily in open source, in the Bay Area
for the past 15 years. In 1999 she started her career at Sun Microsystems. Shortly
afterwards she founded GrokDigital, a technology and design company. She spent three years
as senior director of development at Telespree, a company that provides cloud-based
wireless data services for mobile carriers. For the past eight years, she was at SugarCRM,
where she held positions of increasing responsibility as the organization grew, including
being in charge of internal IT, marketing, customer support and professional services,
engineering, and product development. She has a stellar reputation as a leader who is
highly skilled, collaborative, open, passionate and curious.
We think Lila will be a terrific fit for the ED role. The Transition Team (Phoebe, Alice,
Kat, Sue, Erik, Geoff, Gayle and I) voted unanimously to recommend her to the Board, and
the Board voted unanimously to accept the recommendation. She strikes all of us as smart,
brave and unpretentious, and we believe she has the skills the WMF needs.
Lila is going to spend the next few weeks in learning-and-listening mode, and will take
over the ED position from Sue at the end of the month. Her first priority will be to
immerse herself in deepening her understanding of the Wikimedia projects.
I want to close this announcement by saying a heartfelt and deeply appreciative thanks to
Sue, who has been the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation for the past seven
years. When the Board and I hired Sue in 2007, we were just a chaotic little non-profit in
small-town Florida, with a tiny staff and not much money. Over the past seven years,
Sue's leadership has built the Foundation into an effective, well-funded and
well-managed organisation, with integrity and a clear sense of purpose, and her steady and
committed presence throughout the search process was integral in helping us come to this
excellent result. We will be forever grateful for her leadership and vision, and I hope we
can continue to rely on her support in the months and years ahead.
In June Sue will move into a new role as a special advisor to me and Lila. She'll also
take a well-earned holiday, and maybe even a bit of a wiki-break, before beginning to
think about what she's going to do next. Many of us will get a chance to see her in
London, at Wikimania, in August.
The Wikimedia Foundation is delighted to have reached such a successful outcome to the
search. My thanks to Lisa Grossman of m/Oppenheim for helping us with it, and I ask you to
please join me in extending a warm welcome to Lila Tretikov, our new ED.
Jan-Bart de Vreede
Wikimedia Board of Trustees