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Wikimedia Foundation restructures its board

Under the terms of the changes, the board will add two "chapter-selected" seats and will formalize Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales' spot with a "community founder" seat.

The Wikimedia Foundation has instituted a restructuring of its board of trustees, in the process adding two "chapter" board seats and formalizing Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales' position as the "community founder" board member.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has been designated the 'community founder' board member of the Wikimedia Foundation as part of a restructuring of the board. Lane Hartwell

Valleywag on Wednesday first noted the changes.

First, according to Jan-Bart de Vreede, the board of trustees' vice chairman, the board is expanding from its current 8 seats to a total of 10.

The big change, de Vreede wrote, is the expansion of the board through what he termed "chapter-selected" seats.

"This has been under consideration for a long time, and we are glad to finally be implementing it, de Vreede wrote. "We want to acknowledge that the chapters are an important player in the fulfillment of the Wikimedia Foundation's mission and that they therefore deserve a voice in the governance of the Foundation. Please note that the two chapter-selected seats are not intended to represent the interests of the chapters vis-a-vis the foundation. The chapters are being asked to pick trustees who they feel will represent the interests of the Wikimedia Foundation and help it fulfill its mission as well as it possibly can."

There will also be three Wikimedia community-elected seats.

Further, the foundation is designating four board seats for "specific expertise" in the hopes that it can find people who bring "skills and capacities" the board wants.

"For example, we might decide to actively recruit board members with deep nonprofit governance experience or fund-raising experience," according to de Vreede.

And, finally, Wales was formally appointed to the community founder board seat, a seat he will occupy until December 31.

According to de Vreede, the "specific expertise" seats and the community founder seat will be re-appointed in January 2009. De Vreede's post did not specify how those reappointments would be done.

The community-elected and chapter-selected seats will come with two-year terms and will be reselected in alternating years.