Sue Gardner leaves Wikipedia to fight for ‘free and open Internet’

by Curtis Lee Fulton

Sue Gardner, executive director of Wikipedia’s parent foundation, Wikimedia, reported in a blog post today that she’s leaving the non-profit to work to amplify “the voices of people advocating for the free and open internet.” She cited censorship and unaccountability as the main threat to a free Internet:

Wikipedia has experienced censorship at the hands of industry groups and governments, and we are –increasingly, I think– seeing important decisions made by unaccountable, non-transparent corporate players, a shift from the open web to mobile walled gardens, and a shift from the production-based internet to one that’s consumption-based.

Wikimedia’s board has assembled a transition team to replace Gardner in the next six months. In addition to Gardner, the team includes:

  • Kat Walsh, Wikimedia foundation chair of the board of trustees
  • Jan-Bart de Vreede, vice-chair
  • Alice Wiegand, chair of the board’s governance committee
  • Erik Moeller, Wikimedia Foundation’s vice-president of product and engineering
  • Geoff Brigham, general counsel
  • Gayle Karen Young, chief talent and culture officer