Welcome Katherine, from all of us at Wikimedia UK. That's fantastic news!
Patricio Lorente wrote:
It is our great pleasure to share that during the Board meeting at
Wikimania 2016 in Esino Lario, we unanimously voted to appoint
Katherine Maher as Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation.
This is effective as of our resolution dated Thursday, 23 June.
Katherine served as interim Executive Director for the past three
months, during which time she consistently and repeatedly demonstrated
the kind of leadership our organization needs. She is deeply committed
to our movement’s values, and brings expertise in civic technology and
international development that will be an asset to the Wikimedia
Foundation and the movement.
We came to this conclusion after an intensive discovery process led by
the ED search committee. Our decision was also informed by direct
feedback from staff and community, and our own experience working
closely with Katherine.
In March, we assembled an Executive Director search committee
consisting of four Board members¹ who were chosen to represent
different perspectives and capacities.² Additionally, the Board asked
the Foundation’s Chief Advancement Officer Lisa Gruwell to represent
the executive team, and Foundation staff member Katie Horn was
selected by her peers as someone who could represent staff
perspectives. The committee was charged with keeping the process on
track and on time, engaging important stakeholders, and facilitating
transparency in communications. Their first tasks were to identify a
search firm, and define the position description. You can review the
committee’s updates on Meta.
The committee recruited Viewcrest Advisors,³ to identify our
leadership needs and design a hiring process. Kathleen Yazbak of
Viewcrest worked with the committee to conduct interviews with every
Foundation department, the executive, the Board, and nearly 20
additional one-on-one interviews with staff. Kathleen attended the
Wikimedia Conference in Berlin, collecting feedback from community
members and affiliates. The committee launched a community survey in
June, receivingmore than 1,600 responses about the qualities needed in
the next ED; they also asked for feedback on Meta. Taking all of
this into account, the transition team developed a profile and
requirements for the next Executive Director that reflect our values
and our communities.
Throughout this process, the Board and the transition team received
very clear and often unsolicited feedback from both staff and
community members that Katherine embodies the values of our movement
and the traits needed in our next ED. This feedback was only
reinforced by the latest Foundation engagement survey results, which
showed a strong shift toward renewed trust in leadership. After taking
this all into account, and considering what the organization needs at
this moment of transition, we moved to appoint Katherine now.
In just three months as interim ED, Katherine worked with the
organization and community to make huge strides in management,
execution, and transparency. She brought much-needed clarity to our
strategic direction, and mobilized the organization to clearly
communicate that direction through this year’s annual plan.
After her appointment, she worked with the leadership team to swiftly
identify the organization’s priorities during the transition period
and execute against them, setting ambitious but reachable targets.
Under Katherine’s leadership, the Foundation submitted its annual plan
to the Funds Dissemination Committee, leaving ample time for community
feedback and discussion.
Katherine is an excellent fit for our movement. She is longtime
advocate for global open communities, culture, and technology. She was
the Foundation’s Chief Communications Officer from April 2014 until
she was appointed interim ED in March. Throughout her career she has
focused on freedom of expression, access to information, and digital
rights; supporting the efforts of people around the world to deepen
participation, advance transparency, and strengthen their communities
through her work with UNICEF, National Democratic Institute for
International Affairs, and the World Bank. If you don’t already know
Katherine, you can learn more about her on Meta.
With this appointment, we feel strongly that the Foundation has the
leadership and clarity to move forward. We wish Katherine the very
best in this role, and the Board looks forward to continuing to work
We would also like to thank the many community members and Foundation
staff who actively shared thoughtful, highly valuable feedback.
Without that, we would not have been able to come to this decision.
Please join us in congratulating Katherine!
Patricio Lorente, outgoing Board Chair
Christophe Henner, incoming Board Chair
Alice Wiegand (Committee Chair), Dariusz Jemielniak, Guy Kawasaki,
For example, community and governance experience, appointed and
community-selected seats, and US and non-US perspectives.
The committee reviewed 7 different firms and unanimously picked
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