By Wikipediocracy Members
On February 25, 2016, Lila Tretikov announced her resignation as the Wikimedia Foundation’s Executive Director. She will stay on until March 31. An interim ED will be announced in the meantime, and a full search will be conducted by the WMF Board. The entire staff will meet on Friday to discuss the matter, and on Saturday, Jimmy Wales, who serves as a member of the WMF Board, will fly from London to meet with individual WMF staff members in order to be able to convey staff concerns to the rest of the Board.Last November, a community elected Board Member, “Doc James” Heilman had raised WMF staff concerns with Tretikov’s leadership and with her strategy of seeking outside grants for developing a “Knowledge Engine” without wider consultation. In response, the Board reaffirmed its confidence in Tretikov and removed Heilman from the Board. The Board appointed a management consultant to mentor Lila Tretikov.
The subsequent debate triggered by Heilman’s dismissal and disclosure of the Knowledge Engine grant from the Knight Brother’s Foundation prompted a whirlwind of critical discussion by established community members and staff. In addition, a number of senior WMF staff departed, some making critical public remarks as they left.
This past weekend, Tretikov drafted a last defense of her position, which drew yet more criticism. In addition this week’s edition of the Signpost published a summary of events very critical of Tretikov.
Earlier this week, the WMF Board met to discuss the situation and accepted Tretikov’s resignation.
Molly White’s excellent timeline of events leading up to this denouement: link
Touted as a special and unique fit to the Executive director’s position, Lila Tretikov was brought in to succeed Sue Gardner, whose tenure saw the Foundation’s financial growth and spiritual decline.
When the hiring of Lila Tretikov was announced in May of 2014, Gardner described her successor as fitting a particular and possibly imaginary set of requirements, as being a ‘unicorn.’
Sadly, this legendary pairing of the unicorn and the Wikimedia Foundation didn’t have a happy ending.
The Unicorn Revolution died at the Wikimedia Foundation the way a lot of revolutions do: with a lot of heads rolling and the lionized leader discarded.