The Founder's seat on the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, the ultimate corporate authority of the WMF, is granted to Jimmy Wales, who was one of the two founders of Wikipedia in 2001. The other founder, Larry Sanger, is not granted a seat nor other founder rights.
(F) Community Founder Trustee Position. The Board may appoint Jimmy Wales as Community Founder Trustee for a three-year term. The Board may reappoint Wales as Community Founder Trustee for successive three-year terms (without a term limit). In the event that Wales is not appointed as Community Founder Trustee, the position will remain vacant, and the Board shall not fill the vacancy.— wmf:Bylaws#ARTICLE IV - THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, Section 3. Selection. (F), 28 September 2015
First version (5 August 2008):
(F) Community Founder Trustee Position. Beginning in January 2009, the Board may appoint Jimmy Wales as Community Founder Trustee for a one-year term. The Board may reappoint Wales to the Community Founder Trustee position from year to year to successive one-year terms. In the event that Wales is not appointed as Community Founder Trustee, the Community Founder Trustee position will remain vacant, and the Board shall not fill the vacancy.
Since 2008, the Board has seats for ten Trustees:
- one founder's seat (reserved for Jimmy Wales);
- two seats selected by the Wikimedia chapters and thematic organizations;
- three seats nominated by the Wikimedia community; and
- four seats appointed by the rest of the Board for specific expertise
WMF Board Restructure Announcement Q&A, April 2008:
- How will the community/chapter/appointed board seats be filled?
… The Founder's seat will be appointed by the Board. It is reserved for Jimmy Wales, but in the event that Jimmy no longer wants to serve, or the Board declines for any reason to appoint him, that seat will disappear. Regardless of his position as a board member, Jimmy will also continue to hold the honorary title of Chair Emeritus. That title has no official weight and carries no special responsibilities or formal authority.
- How is the 'founder' description different from before? Is it different from 'Chairman Emeritus?’
The Founder's seat will be held by Jimmy Wales, and will be appointed annually. If the Board does not appoint Jimmy to the Founder's seat for any reason, then the number of seats on the Board will be reduced by one – that seat will not be filled. Jimmy Wales continues to hold the honorary title 'Chairman Emeritus' regardless of his position on the Board.
- en:Founder's seat
- wmf:Bylaws#Section 3. Selection. Fig. (F)
- Wikimedia Foundation Board Handbook#Number of Board members; election to the Board; new Board members
- en:Jimmy Wales#Role
- n:Wikimedia chair Jimmy Wales steps down
- en:WP:Wikipedia Signpost/2015-12-30/News and notes
- en:WP:Wikipedia Signpost/2015-06-24/News and notes
- en:WP:Wikipedia Signpost/2015-04-22/In focus
- en:WP:Wikipedia Signpost/2011-06-06/Board elections
- en:WP:Wikipedia Signpost/2009-08-31/News and notes
- en:WP:WikipediaWeekly/Wikimania 2009/Halprin
- en:WP:Wikipedia Signpost/2009-07-27/Board elections
- en:WP:Wikipedia Signpost/2009-05-25/News and notes
- en:WP:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-05-02/Board restructuring
Jimmy Wales also holds multiple special user rights as founder:
WMF resolutions concerning the role of WalesEdit
- wmf:Resolution:Jimmy Wales reappointment, 7 October 2007
- wmf:Board of Trustees/Restructure Announcement (+Q&A), 26 April 2008
- wmf:Resolution:Bylaws amendment February 2010, February 2010
- wmf:Resolution:Bylaws amendment - founder term, 28 February 2011
- wmf:Resolution:Term Limit Proposal for Bylaws, 15 July 2015
- wmf:Resolution:Resolution to renew the Founder's seat (2015), 7 November 2015