The Executive Director is the senior officer of the Wikimedia Foundation, overseeing the operations of the Foundation and its professional staff. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Trustees. The position was created as the Foundation workload became too much for the volunteer Board of Trustees.
For the most part, the Executive Director will not be involved with how the community operates on individual projects. The function of this position is to run the business side of the Wikimedia Foundation so as to provide resources to keep the projects going.
Executive directors 
June 2006—January 2007 
On 12 June 2006, the Wikimedia Foundation announced the hiring of Brad Patrick as interim Executive Director and General Counsel, the latter position on a permanent basis (official press release). He resigned as Executive Director in January 2007 and as General Counsel in March 2007.
In his position as interim Executive Director, he was tasked with helping find a permanent Executive Director and work to prepare things so that the organization is ready for that person to take over.
For more information, see Brad's personal FAQ.
January 2007—December 2007 
From April to June 2007, the Foundation searched for an executive director (see "Job openings" at that time). In July, the Foundation announced the hiring of Sue Gardner as Consultant and Special Advisor.
In October 2007, the Board of Trustees created the Executive Director Subcommittee tasked with finding, monitoring and reporting on, and (if necessary) firing an Executive Director. The membership consisted of trustees Jan-Bart de Vreede (Jan-Bart), Kat Walsh (Mindspillage), and Florence Nibart-Devouard (Anthere).
December 2007— 
- "Foundation organizational changes enacted" (5 February 2007), en-Wikipedia Signpost
- "Patrick and Wool resign in office shakeup" (26 March 2007), en-Wikipedia Signpost
- "Report board meeting in Florida 6-7 of october" (Foundation-l, 11 October 2007)
- User:Sue Gardner appointed as Executive director: Foundation-l Announcement and Board of Trustees Resolution