Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Transition Team/2013/Position description

The following one page position description is to be used over the course of the search to engage the broadest possible range of candidates and connectors/nominators, and is meant to be give a relatively brief overview of the history and current state of the organization, the opportunities for future innovation and growth, and a sense the culture. Those interested in learning more will be directed to the Addenda and invited to speak with Lisa or Mark.

Wikimedia Foundation: Executive Director

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.
That's our commitment.
— Wikimedia Foundation vision statement

Over half a billion people use Wikipedia and its sister projects every month. As a top five web property and the only donor-supported site in the top 100, the Wikimedia Foundation enables a global community of volunteers to collect, develop and make freely available the sum of humanity's knowledge. The Wikimedia Foundation is seeking an Executive Director to guide the organization through its next phase of innovation and growth.

Reporting to the Board of Trustees and acting in partnership with the global volunteer community, the Executive Director (ED) will provide the leadership and set the strategy for the Wikimedia Foundation while managing its day-to-day operations and activities. First and foremost, it is the Executive Director's priority to modernize Wikimedia's user experience and to nurture, grow and diversify the community of Wikimedia contributors. Secondarily, the ED will ensure that the Wikimedia Foundation's grantmaking program supports innovation across the Wikimedia movement, and enables contributor growth in underrepresented demographics and geographic areas.

The Wikimedia Foundation is the most influential and respected organization in the free knowledge movement. Its purpose is to enable as many people as possible to develop, grow and disseminate free multilingual content using open source software. The Foundation provides the technical, operating and managerial infrastructure for Wikipedia and Wikimedia's other free knowledge projects. This includes the continuous delivery of technology improvements that enhance the user experience, enable new forms of collaboration, and adapt the Wikimedia projects to the changing technological environment (e.g. the rapid global adoption of smartphones and tablets).

To advance these priorities, the Wikimedia Foundation is focused on:

  • sustaining a robust, resilient, secure and scalable infrastructure for hosting Wikimedia projects;
  • supporting a vibrant, diverse and international community through iterative and continuous deployment of simple and powerful software that enables anyone to easily read and contribute to Wikimedia projects across diverse platforms and operating systems;
  • helping other Wikimedia movement organizations in their work towards the mission by providing them with financial and organizational resources; and
  • advancing the proposition that knowledge, and open source tools used to share and access knowledge, should be free and freely available to everyone globally.

Key to the success of the Executive Director will be a commitment to understand and advance Wikimedia's core values. The Executive Director will need to have the technology management and product development skills to effectively lead a high traffic website, and experience designing and implementing planning processes with a high built-in assumption of fast and iterative change. He or she will need to have exceptional communication skills, and to possess both a drive to achieve transformative results and a deep respect for collaborative processes. The ED's ability to effect change in partnership with Wikimedia's community will be decisive not just to their success, but to Wikimedia's lasting impact in the 21st century.

For more information please contact:

Lisa Grossman
(650) 323-3565 or lisag

Mark Oppenheim
(415)762-2640 or marko

m/Oppenheim Associates
221 Main Street, Suite 540
San Francisco, CA 94105