[Wikimedia-l] [Wikimedia Announcements] Announcement *please read*

Itzik Edri itzik at infra.co.il
Thu Mar 28 11:06:54 UTC 2013

As others have wrote, it is still not a farewell email. But there is no
doubt that Sue, despite past disagreements we had, is an asset to
the foundation and our movement. And it's going to be a very big challenge
to find someone who will replace her. I'll wait with the real farewell
email :)


On Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 12:00 AM, Sue Gardner <sgardner at wikimedia.org>wrote:

> Hello Wikimedia community members,
> This is not an easy e-mail to write, and it’s been a very hard
> decision to make. But I’m writing to tell you that I’m planning to
> leave my position as the Executive Director of the Wikimedia
> Foundation.
> My departure isn’t imminent -- the Board and I anticipate it’ll take
> at least six months to recruit my successor, and I’ll be fully engaged
> as Executive Director all through the recruitment process and until we
> have a new person in place. We’re expecting that’ll take about six
> months or so, and so this note is not goodbye -- not yet.
> Making the decision to leave hasn’t 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 wasn’t the case, I wouldn’t 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 I’m confident the Board will appoint a strong successor to
> me.
> And I feel that although we’re in good shape, with a promising future,
> the same isn’t true for the internet itself. (This is thing number
> two.) Increasingly, I’m finding myself uncomfortable about how the
> internet’s developing, who’s 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 we’re --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
> that’s consumption-based. There are many organizations and individuals
> advocating for the public interest online -- what’s good for ordinary
> people -- but other interests are more numerous and powerful than they
> are. I want that to change. And that’s what I want to do next.
> I’ve 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
> don’t 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 I’ve agreed with the Board that I’ll stay on as
> Executive Director until we have my successor in place. That’ll 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 I’m not going to do it now --
> there’ll be time for that later. For now, I’ll just say I love working
> with you all, I’m proud of everything the Wikimedia movement is
> accomplishing, and I’m looking forward to our next six months
> together.
> Jan-Bart’s going to write a note in a couple of minutes with
> information about the transition process. We’ll 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.
> Thanks,
> Sue
> --
> 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!
> https://donate.wikimedia.org/
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