Planning this graceful exit as Executivenu Director is exactly the
professional and nurturing way that Sue has provided leadership for the
Wikimedia Foundation. Although I have personal sadness to see Sue move on,
I fully understand why and so very much respect the thoughtful way that she
is implementing the transition.

As a community we have work to do as we look for a Executive Director to
replace Sue. It is on us as a movement to rally together to support the
transition plan.


On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 6:12 PM, Kat Walsh <> wrote:

> I'm not sure it could be any easier to write this message, but I'm not sure
> it could be any harder either.
> It is a great privilege to be able to say, as she is moving on, that this
> is not a sign of any trouble or strain between Sue and the board, or any
> sign of trouble at Wikimedia. It would be hard to be in a better condition
> to have a calm, angst-free transition, which reflects the professionalism,
> leadership, and real concern for the organization that Sue has shown all
> throughout her time in the position; I was incredibly sorry to hear she
> would be moving on from this role even as she goes on to find new ways to
> further the values we both believe in.
> When we hired Sue, we knew it was for a tremendous task, one that we could
> hardly have asked of anyone, especially at the stage in our history while
> we were small and struggling. We had no idea how lucky we were to connect
> with her, someone who had the unusual mix of skills needed to take us from
> where we were as an organization to where we are now, and who had the
> passion for our movement and the values it holds to become its best and
> strongest advocate. Now we are lucky to have her as a full part of the
> transition team, as the one who best knows the specific demands of the
> role, and to continue to lead the organization until her successor is in as
> strong as possible a position going forward.
> As Chair, I recognize that she's been a great leader of the organization,
> and that we have a challenging task ahead in finding a successor--but that
> she will be leaving us in an excellent position for another outstanding
> leader to take up where she left off.
> In a personal capacity, I have truly valued being able to work closely for
> these past years with someone I consider a mentor and a friend, and with
> whom I was able to have a great deal of mutual trust, respect, and candor.
> And so even recognizing this as a decision that was bound to come sometime
> and makes perfect sense, I am sad to know she will be moving on, and to
> have to write this message. Fortunately, this isn't yet goodbye, and given
> that she'll be closely tied to our movement in whatever new role she
> chooses, even that will only be a "see you later".
> I look forward to working with her, and with all of you, to search for and
> prepare the next amazing person to lead the organization into the future.
> -Kat
> On Wed, Mar 27, 2013 at 3:04 PM, Sue Gardner <>
> 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
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
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> > (G)AIM, Freenode, gchat,, twitter, various social sites:
> > mindspillage
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