Looks like a good choice. 

Good luck, Katherine




From: WikimediaAnnounce-l 
[mailto:wikimediaannounce-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On Behalf Of Patricio 
Sent: Friday, 24 June 2016 11:16 AM
To: wikimediaannounc...@lists.wikimedia.org
Subject: [Wikimedia Announcements] Board appointment of Executive Director


Dear all, 


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[1] 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.[2]


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, receiving more than 1,600 responses about the 
qualities needed in the next ED; they also asked for feedback on Meta.[3] 
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 


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 


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.[4]


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 with her. 


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 


1.    Alice Wiegand (Committee Chair), Dariusz Jemielniak, Guy Kawasaki, Kelly 

2.    For example, community and governance experience, appointed and 
community-selected seats, and US and non-US perspectives.

3.    The committee reviewed 7 different firms and unanimously picked 





[2 ] 


[4]  <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Katherine_(WMF)> 



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