Thank you, Patricio.

I want to thank the Board for this opportunity, and for their confidence in
the Foundation. I also want to thank community members and staff for
continuing to be such committed advocates for our future -- your passion
and belief in our movement and purpose have been tremendous things to

As a movement, we’ve had some challenges lately. We’ve started on a process
of change, but as Lydia Pintscher (User:Lydia Pintscher (WMDE)) recently
reminded us,[1] “Change happens at the speed of trust.” We will need to
work together over these coming months to build that trust, and open
critical lines of communication and accountability. I get the sense from
many people that that’s exactly what they’d like to do: absorb the lessons
we’ve learned, re-engage with each other, and get back to advancing our
global movement.

At the Foundation, we have an opportunity to center around our values, and
practice open and collaborative communication. During the interim period, I
want to get things working well and improve transparency and communication,
both internally and with the communities. We will work to create a
supportive, fair environment where people can get things done, engage with
their colleagues and community members, and understand how their work has
an impact on our mission. This includes delivering on important deadlines
for the Annual Plan and strategy,[2] filling key roles, and making progress
on issues raised in our recent engagement survey.

We are committed to delivering the first version of the 2016-2017 Annual
Plan no later than April 1st for community and FDC review, and are on track
to meet this deadline. The WMF 2016-2018 strategy development is also
underway, with a draft version open for comments until March 18.[3] Over
the coming weeks, we’ll be moving forward with our Chief Technology Officer
(CTO) search, and working with the Talent and Culture team to reinvest in
our culture. As new other emerge, we’ll work together to prioritize them.

To accomplish all of this, we are going to need your help. I want to hear
from you about what you would like to achieve in this interim period. This
includes how we can collaborate together to prepare the organization and
movement to welcome our next Executive Director. The Foundation is prepared
to actively support the Board in the search, and we will work closely with
them to share important information and create opportunities to give
feedback throughout the process.

Just a few weeks ago, we marked the 15th birthday of the movement.[4]
Millions of people around the world shared their love for Wikimedia. It was
a celebration of why we do what we do, and how much joy the movement brings
people everywhere. That’s something I try to keep in mind every day.

Yours sincerely,


On Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 6:55 PM, Patricio Lorente <> wrote:

> Hello all,
> I’m happy to announce that the Wikimedia Foundation leadership team has
> proposed an interim Executive Director, and the Board has given our full
> support. Starting on March 14th, current Chief Communications Officer
> Katherine Maher (
> will step into the role of interim Executive Director. We thank the
> C-levels for their careful consideration in this process, and Katherine for
> stepping up during this period of transition.
> In choosing an interim ED, the C-levels started by identifying immediate
> priorities for the coming months, including building trust, improving
> communications, and filling key leadership positions. They felt, and we
> agree, that Katherine is the right person to lead the organization while it
> addresses these and other important issues. Additionally, this will allow
> the rest of the executive team to focus on critical organizational
> functions, including community and engineering management, fundraising, and
> strengthening our human resources function. You can read more about our
> process and thinking here:
> Katherine has been with the Foundation as Chief Communications Officer for
> about two years now. During that time, she has developed a versatile and
> effective team that serves the needs of the organization and movement,
> collaborating closely with other departments and the community. She has
> thoughtfully introduced new capacities and led her team through
> transitions, and played a critical role in shepherding the strategy process
> and the annual plan, in collaboration with other C-levels. She is known for
> listening to and empowering the people that she works with.
> For those who don’t know Katherine, she’s been a longtime advocate for
> global open communities, culture, and technology. She previously led
> advocacy for the international digital rights organization Access Now,
> where she worked on freedom of expression, access to information, and
> privacy. She has supported the efforts of citizens and governments around
> the world to deepen transparency and participation in her roles at the
> World Bank, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and
> UNICEF (where her team built wikis for youth participation in major global
> issues). She is a member of the advisory board of the Open Technology Fund.
> With interim leadership in place, our next step as the Board is to move
> quickly to plan and implement the search for a permanent Executive
> Director. We will be working together over the coming weeks to clarify
> roles and responsibilities in this search, and identify the best way for
> community and staff to participate.  We want this process to be inclusive
> and incorporate many voices. We look forward to sharing an update on our
> progress toward the end of next week.
> As interim Executive Director, Katherine will report to the Board. Geoff
> Brigham will continue serving as Board Secretary, and Jaime Villagomez as
> Board Treasurer, reporting to the Board in those capacities. As of March
> 14, Katherine's reports include the C-team: Geoff Brigham, Jaime
> Villagomez, Maggie Dennis, Lisa Gruwell, Joady Lohr, and Wes Moran. The
> Communications team will continue to report to Katherine for the time
> being, with support from the leadership of Juliet Barbara and Heather
> Walls.
> Thank you,
>                                          Patricio
> Translation notice - This message is available for translation on
> Meta-Wiki:
> --
> _______________________________________________
> Wmfall mailing list

Katherine Maher
Chief Communications Officer
Wikimedia Foundation
149 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

+1 (415) 839-6885 ext. 6635
+1 (415) 712 4873
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