Lila Tretikov's Departing Address

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Dear fellow Wikimedians,

It is with great respect that I have tendered, and the board has accepted, my resignation as Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation earlier this week. I am both inspired by, and proud of, the many great things we have all accomplished at the Foundation over the last two years, most significantly reversing the loss of our editorial community. I would like to thank our Board of Trustees and Advisors, our Foundation staff, as well as the many outstanding community members for their support and encouragement on this journey. I remain passionate about the value and potential of open knowledge and Wikimedia to change the world. My last day at the Foundation will be March 31, 2016.

Wikimedia occupies a special place in the world. It is a cultural and technological revolution. Change is necessary to keep it thriving. In bringing me in as the Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation the Board tasked me with making changes to serve the next generation and ensure our impact in the future. Driving these changes has been challenging, and I have always appreciated the open and honest discourse we have had along the way. However, I am moved by the accomplishments we have achieved during this time:

  • Strategically, we laid out our summary of the vision for united in knowledge and future of Wikimedia last June.
  • Operationally, we have reformed our procedures and initiated key performance metrics and reviews.
  • Technologically we have introduced innovative approaches such as machine learning and mobile applications, started improvements in search, grew translations and dramatically improved website performance. In 2015, we made visual editor the default for all new users on English Wikipedia.
  • We united our community support departments and created a new community tech team to address community needs.
  • Profoundly, for the first time in seven years, highly active editor numbers have increased and overall editor decline has stopped.
  • Equitably, I am proud of our efforts to address the gender gap, our growing focus on site safety and anti-harassment initiatives and child protection -- I believe these are essential to protecting the fundamental principles of tolerance, open discourse and mutual respect -- our greatest strengths.
  • We fought against censorship and surveillance, which pose severe existential threats to our mission of free knowledge.
  • Financially, we grew rapidly in 2014-15 to seed and launch the Wikimedia Endowment and secure our future for years to come.

I move on with confidence that the Foundation can meet new challenges in a challenging environment. I believe in our ability to continue to lead through this change. At this critical juncture for the Foundation, and for the free and open knowledge movement as a whole, solidarity, creativity, adaptability and passion will continue to propel our movement forward, and empower our vision towards our future.

I will support the process of identifying our new leadership in every way that I can, and offer my assistance to the Board as they conduct their search for my successor. It has been an honor to serve and to contribute to our great movement.

With warm regards,

Lila