After a lengthy search, the Wikimedia Foundation has announced the selection of a new executive director. Lila Tretikov comes from SugarCRM, a software company dealing in customer relationship management (CRM), where she was the chief product officer, based in Cupertino, California. It produces the web application Sugar, also known as SugarCRM, which is a customer relationship management system that is available in both open-source and commercial open-source applications. Since the start of this year, she has been a board adviser for Zamurai Corporation in the San Francisco Bay area. Her skill-base emphasizes the hiring and developing of people, technical management, and product design. Tretikov was named as a 2012 finalist in the Female Executive of the Year – Business Services category.
Jan-Bart de Vreede, the chair of the Board of Trustees and the chair of the Executive Director Transition Team that selected Tretikov, stated in an email that Tretikov "will be an excellent leader in the Wikimedia movement. She strikes us all as smart, brave and unpretentious, and ... she has the skills the Foundation needs":
As many of you know, about a year ago Sue Gardner announced she planned to step down as our ED. As we launched the search for her successor, we spent some time working through the most critical requirements for the role. We decided the new ED should be someone with a product/engineering background, ideally in an open-source or other online community context. We wanted someone experienced with organisations that were growing, who'd managed staff and budgets comparable to ours, and who had experience creating continuous delivery of technology improvements in an agile context. We wanted a person who is oriented towards collaboration, transparency and openness, with some experience with complex stakeholder environments, and with an international orientation. We knew we needed someone with courage and strong personal integrity, who wouldn't be intimidated by attempts to censor the projects.
Lila is precisely what we set out to find.
For her part, Tretikov wrote a lengthy email to the Wikimedia-l mailing list, telling the movement that "I'm excited to bring my passion for building products that people love and growing innovative, high-performing organizations to the Foundation. ... I've been warned that joining the Wikimedia movement is a bit like drinking from a firehose, and so I'd consider myself, right now, to be excited, curious, optimistic, and just a tiny little bit daunted."
Sue Gardner announced at the May metrics meeting that shipping the final version of the annual plan end of May will probably be her last duty for the Foundation. Tretikov will officially start on 1 June 2014, and will spend the next few weeks meeting staff.
Updates on this story from the community are welcome, and we will follow with a longer Signpost feature next week.