Monday, June 25, 2007

Wikimedia seems to have a new Executive Director

I'm going to take a moment out of the election series for this semi-breaking news item. It seems that the WMF has a new Executive Director, but of course there has been no announcement of this, at least not that I've heard of. Apparently, based on the anonymous comment at the bottom of this blog post, it's Susan Gardner, a former director at the CBC. Read the comments on that page to find out how the CBC people think about Ms. Gardner.... it'll be interesting to see how she gets along at the Foundation. Not to mention how long it takes the Foundation to get around to announcing it.

I've known about this for a few days now, and was going to wait until after I'd finish the election series, but my sources are telling me that she's actually started working in the office (the commute from Toronto to St. Pete must be quite the killer) and so decided not to wait any longer.

Update: Gerard claims in a comment that he announced her appointment on his blog, but I can't find the post; believe what you want. Still, how very typical of the Foundation to only announce a major change like this to its close friends only. It continues to amaze me that people donate to this organization at all.

Second update: Wikimedia Board Member Erik Moeller, also in comments below, refuses to either confirm or deny the rumor, stating that the "situation is more complex than [my] post suggests". Frankly, I don't see how it could be "more complex"; either they have hired her, or they have not. I don't understand why he can't make a definite statement on the issue, but obviously I am nowhere near as smart as Erik and, of course, could never understand the complexities of the possible answers to the question "Is Sue Gardner the new Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation?"

I must admit that I look forward to hearing more about the obviously complex relationship between the Wikimedia Foundation and Sue Gardner. This must be an example of the improved transparency in communication Erik promised to bring to the board when he ran the last time.

Third update: Reports are now in that Erik has announced that Sue Gardner has been officially hired -- on an IRC channel. Public, but not exactly the most effective of communication methods. I can only hope that there will be a more formal statement somewhere, since it's sorta hard to link to an IRC channel in a blog post. Still no word on the complexities that Erik hinted at, except for this tidbit: her apparent title is "special consultant and advisor", not the expected "interim executive director". Nice and vague, gives nobody any meaningful expectations as to what her role will be. Well, we can only hope that she and the Board both know what it means.

Fourth update: Fearless Leaderette announced it on the mailing list; here's the link. I'll save further comment for a subsequent post.