Press releases/July 2010 WMF Announces Changes to the Board QandA

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Questions and answers

Wikimedia Foundation announces changes to Board of Trustees, July 2010

(read the announcement)

How did this chapters selection process unfold?
The Wikimedia network of chapters have recently developed a formal process for selecting Board members and this is the first time they have implemented this newly-enacted process to appoint two chapter-appointed representatives.
The Chapters put out a public call for candidates in May 2009. Nine candidates stepped forward or were nominated by an individual chapter for the seats, after which two withdrew. The Chapters were then given an opportunity to ask questions of the candidates, then to internally discuss the candidates and arrive at a consensus. In the case of this selection process the Chapters did not arrive at a consensus and a vote for candidates was called. The top two candidates who remained were offered to the Board as the chosen candidates for the Board seats.
When will the newly appointed board member join the Foundation?
In this case the newest member joins immediately.
Why are the chapters involved in the selection of Board members.
In April 2008 the Board of Trustees announced a formal Board restructuring process. Part of that process included creating two new "chapters-selected" Board seats. This was done in order to express the Board's view that the chapters are an important player in the fulfillment of the Wikimedia mission, and that the chapters should therefore have a voice in the governance of the Wikimedia Foundation Foundation. The purpose of the chapters-selected seats is not to represent the best interests of the chapters to the Wikimedia Foundation: all Wikimedia Foundation Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to advance the mission of the Wikimedia Foundation, and strive to help it succeed. The chapters have been asked to select Board members, because the Board feels the chapters are capable of picking excellent Board members, and thereby helping to strengthen the Board overall.
Who is in charge of appointing the Board chair?
The collective Board makes the ultimate decision about who will stand as Board chair.
Who were the previous officers of the Board of Trustees?
The previous officers were Board Chair, Michael Snow; Jan-Bart de Vreede, Vice-chair; Kat Walsh, Secretary; and Stu West, Treasurer.
What is the process for appointing officers of the Board of Trustees?
Board members nominate themselves for officer positions they are interested in, and the remaining Board members vote to fill the role.
Is it possible for Board members hold two officer positions simultaneously?
Yes, although this is the first time this has happened.
This is a lot of change at one time for the Board, what does the board think about this?
This level of change is fairly normal for our Board. The newly elected officers are all experienced Board members, and our newest Board member Phoebe Ayers has many years of experience within the Wikimedia community, and knows the staff fairly well.
When do new offices terms begin?
Officer terms begin immediately.
When does Michael Snow's role as Chair conclude?
Ting Chen became Chair today, and the Board has thanked Michael for his excellent service. Michael has been invited to join the Advisory Board, and he has accepted. That's effective immediately.