The Wikimedia Board of Trustees manage the nonprofit and supervise the disposition and solicitation of nonprofit donations. The Board of Trustees are the ultimate corporate authority in the Wikimedia Foundation Inc. (article IV, sec. 1 of the Wikimedia Foundation bylaws).
The Board has the power to direct the activities of the foundation. It also has the authority to set membership dues, discipline and suspend members (article III), and to amend the corporate bylaws (article VI).
The Board consists of five directors. Since June 2004, two of these seats have been elected. In each case, voting was open to all active users who were eligible for sufferage. The latest vote was held over three weeks in June and July 2005; the representatives elected that July will retain their seats for two years.
The Board holds regular meetings. All Board meetings can be reviewed on the Meetings page.
The current Board members are:
- Jimmy Wales, Chair
- Florence Nibart-Devouard
- Angela Beesley
- Michael Davis, Treasurer
- Tim Shell, Secretary
Jimmy was born in Huntsville, Alabama in 1966, and is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of Alabama. He worked as Research Director at Chicago Options Associates, a futures and options trading firm then located in Chicago. In the mid-1990s he started Bomis, a search portal focusing on aspects of pop culture, one of the first users of the freely licensed data of the Open Directory Project.
In 1999, Jimmy had the concept of a freely distributable encyclopedia and founded Nupedia, by hiring philosopher Larry Sanger as editor-in-chief and assigning 2 programmers to write software for it. Nupedia failed, perhaps due to being a top-down cathedral model, as opposed to Wikipedia, which is the ultimate bazaar. After 2 years of working with the Nupedia concept, that team opened Wikipedia to help channel content into Nupedia; Wikipedia became an instant success, but not in the envisioned way, and Nupedia was shut down. In 2003, Jimmy set up the Wikimedia Foundation, a Tampa-based non-profit organization, to support Wikipedia and its sister projects.
In 2004, Jimmy founded Wikia, a wiki-style search engine. He was appointed a fellow of Harvard Law School's w:Berkman Center for Internet and Society in mid-2005, and in October of 2005 joined the Board of Directors of Socialtext, a provider of wiki technology to businesses. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with his wife Christine and his daughter Kira.
Florence Nibart-Devouard serves as one of two User Representives to the Board.
Florence was born in Versailles (France). She grew up in Grenoble, and has been living since then in several French cities, as well as Antwerpen in Belgium and Tempe in Arizona.
She is a engineer in Agronomy (ENSAIA and also holds a DEA in Genetics and biotechnologies (INPL). She has been working in public research, first in flower plant genetic improvement, and second in microbiology to study the feasability of polluted soil bioremediation. She is currently employed in a french firm, to conceive decision-making tools in sustainable agriculture. She joined the Wikipedia adventure in February 2002 and is known as a contributor under the pseudonym Anthere.
Florence is 37, and live in Clermont Ferrand with her husband Bertrand and her two children, Anne-Gaëlle aged seven and William nine.
Angela Beesley serves as one of two User Representatives to the Board.
Angela was born in Norwich, England in 1977 and grew up in Maidstone and Colchester. She holds an honours degree in psychology. During a year out from Aston University, and for a period after graduating, Angela worked as a research assistant in the Aston Dyslexia and Developmental Assessment Centre. She then worked for the National Foundation for Educational Research, based in Berkshire, as a developer of the national statutory assessments for England and Wales.
Formerly the CEO of Chicago Options Associates, a futures and options trading firm in Chicago, Michael is now retired and lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Tim Shell is an internet entrepreneur with an interest in self-organization, and decentralized order, as exemplified by Wikipedia. In 1996 he was pursuing his degree in computer science when he decided to chuck it and go into business, joining up with Jimmy Wales to start Bomis.
Tim has lived in Chicago, Florida, and San Diego, and currently resides in Las Vegas.