Press releases/Wikimedia Foundation announces Katherine Maher as Executive Director

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Wikimedia Foundation announces Katherine Maher as Executive Director

Katherine is an expert on the intersection of technology, human rights, democracy, and international development

(Esino Lario, Italy) June 24, 2016 – The Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation today announced the appointment of the Foundation’s new Executive Director, Katherine Maher. The announcement was made during Wikimania 2016, the annual conference celebrating Wikipedia and its sister free knowledge projects, this year in the northern Italian town of Esino Lario.

Katherine was appointed interim Executive Director in March 2016, and has been with the Foundation prior to that appointment since April 2014 as Chief Communications Officer. She replaces Lila Tretikov, who announced her resignation in February 2016.

The Executive Director is the Chief Executive Officer for the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that supports Wikipedia, and is responsible for setting strategy and managing operations. In addition to leading the day-to-day operations of the Foundation, Katherine will work closely with the global Wikimedia community to understand and address challenges involved in building and growing the world’s largest free knowledge projects. She will defend the movement’s values of neutrality, transparency, and privacy as bedrocks of a free and open internet.

“Katherine is an excellent fit for our movement and organization,” said outgoing Board Chair Patricio Lorente. “Having worked with Katherine during my tenure as Board Chair, I have seen her consistently and repeatedly demonstrate 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.”

Katherine is an expert on the intersection of technology, human rights, democracy, and international development. During her time as Chief Communications Officer, Katherine developed a versatile and effective team that serves the needs of the organization and movement, collaborating closely with other departments and the community.

“Our mission is vast, diverse, and inclusive, where everyone can find a home and purpose," said Katherine Maher. "We grow in strength with each contribution, every volunteer. We stand for freedom, transparency, independence, and openness. We are driven by an insatiable curiosity for the world around us, and a fundamental belief in the power of collaboration and cooperation. I want to thank the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, the staff of the Foundation, and the Wikimedia community. I'm honored by this opportunity to serve this remarkable organization and movement, and I look forward to building our future together."

“As I take on the role of Board Chair, I am excited to work with Katherine in a closer capacity,” said the newly appointed Board Chair Christophe Henner. “In the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure to witness her ability to provide strong and collaborative leadership to the Wikimedia Foundation. She has opened up possibilities and discussions that will allow us to move forward and become a better organisation. Katherine deeply shares our values, and fits naturally within our movement.”

Katherine is a longtime advocate for global open communities, culture, and technology. Previously, she 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 participation, advance transparency, and strengthen their communities through her work with UNICEF, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and the World Bank.

She also worked with HSBC Bank in the UK, Germany, and Canada, and interned with Eurasia Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Goldman Sachs. She has extensive programmatic and policy experience working in Europe, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, and Southeast Asia.

Katherine is a member of the Advisory Council at the Open Technology Fund, on the Steering Committee for the Cyberspace & Security Program at the Truman National Security Project/Center for National Policy, and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Project for the Study of the 21st Century.

About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that supports and operates Wikipedia and its sister projects. Wikipedia attracts more than 15 billion page views each month. Every month roughly 80,000 people edit Wikipedia and its sister projects, collectively creating, improving, and maintaining its nearly 40 million articles across hundreds of languages -- this all makes Wikipedia one of the most popular web properties in the world. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

About Wikipedia

Wikipedia is the world’s free knowledge resource. It is a collaborative creation that has been added to and edited by millions of people from around the globe since it was created in 2001: anyone can edit it, at any time. Wikipedia is offered in hundreds of languages containing a total of nearly 40 million articles. Wikimedia and its sister projects are the largest collection of free knowledge in human history.

Wikimedia Foundation Press Contact

Juliet Barbara
(415) 839-6885
press@wikimedia.org