---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sue Gardner <>
Date: 27 March 2013 22:00
Subject: [Wikimedia Announcements] Announcement *please read*
To: Wikimedia Announce Mailing List <>

Hello Wikimedia community members,

This is not an easy e-mail to write, and itís been a very hard
decision to make. But Iím writing to tell you that Iím planning to
leave my position as the Executive Director of the Wikimedia

My departure isnít imminent -- the Board and I anticipate itíll take
at least six months to recruit my successor, and Iíll be fully engaged
as Executive Director all through the recruitment process and until we
have a new person in place. Weíre expecting thatíll take about six
months or so, and so this note is not goodbye -- not yet.

Making the decision to leave hasnít been easy, but it comes down to two things.

First, the movement and the Wikimedia Foundation are in a strong place
now. When I joined, the Foundation was tiny and not yet able to
reliably support the projects. Today it's healthy, thriving, and a
competent partner to the global network of Wikimedia volunteers. If
that wasnít the case, I wouldnít feel okay to leave. In that sense, my
leaving is a vote of confidence in our Board and executive team and
staff --- I know they will ably steer the Foundation through the years
ahead, and Iím confident the Board will appoint a strong successor to

And I feel that although weíre in good shape, with a promising future,
the same isnít true for the internet itself. (This is thing number
two.) Increasingly, Iím finding myself uncomfortable about how the
internetís developing, whoís influencing its development, and who is
not. Last year we at Wikimedia raised an alarm about SOPA/PIPA, and
now CISPA is back. Wikipedia has experienced censorship at the hands
of industry groups and governments, and weíre --increasingly, I
think-- seeing important decisions made by unaccountable
non-transparent corporate players, a shift from the open web to mobile
walled gardens, and a shift from the production-based internet to one
thatís consumption-based. There are many organizations and individuals
advocating for the public interest online -- whatís good for ordinary
people -- but other interests are more numerous and powerful than they
are. I want that to change. And thatís what I want to do next.

Iíve always aimed to make the biggest contribution I can to the
general public good. Today, this is pulling me towards a new and
different role, one very much aligned with Wikimedia values and
informed by my experiences here, and with the purpose of amplifying
the voices of people advocating for the free and open internet. I
donít know exactly what this will look like -- I might write a book,
or start a non-profit, or work in partnership with something that
already exists. Either way, I feel strongly that this is what I need
to do.

I feel an increasing sense of urgency around this. That said, I also
feel a strong sense of responsibility (and love!) for the Wikimedia
movement, and so Iíve agreed with the Board that Iíll stay on as
Executive Director until we have my successor in place. Thatíll take
some time -- likely, at least six months.

Until then, nothing changes. The Wikimedia Foundation has lots of work
to do, and you can expect me to focus fully on it until we have a new
Executive Director in place.

I have many people to thank, but Iím not going to do it now --
thereíll be time for that later. For now, Iíll just say I love working
with you all, Iím proud of everything the Wikimedia movement is
accomplishing, and Iím looking forward to our next six months

Jan-Bartís going to write a note in a couple of minutes with
information about the transition process. Weíll be hosting office
hours this weekend as well, so anybody with questions can ask them
here or turn up to talk with us on IRC.


Sue Gardner
Executive Director
Wikimedia Foundation

415 839 6885 office
415 816 9967 cell

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge. †Help us make it a reality!

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