A new vantage point

I joined Canonical as COO in 2004, excited by the vision of Ubuntu and the possibilities that could unfold from the software, the collaboration with the open source community, the energy of an international, distributed start-up and the impact it could have on the world. When Mark asked me to become CEO in 2010, I added the challenge of driving commercial success to that list. The intervening years, and the adjective/animal pairs, have flown by and I’m still excited by Canonical and those very same things.

We’re now entering a new phase of accelerated growth at Canonical, and it’s time to pass the baton to both seasoned hands and a new generation of Canonical leaders. This is not a sudden decision. I originally agreed to be CEO for 5 years and we’ve extended my tenure as CEO by a couple of years already. We’ve been preparing for a transition for some time by strengthening the executive leadership team and maturing every aspect of the company, and earlier this year Mark and I decided that now is the time to effect this transition. Over the next three months I will remain CEO but begin to formally transfer knowledge and responsibility to others in the executive team. In July, Mark will retake the CEO role and I will move to the Canonical Board of Directors. In terms of a full-time role, I will take some time to recharge and then seek new challenges.

I had hoped to avoid trotting out the standard departure cliches of gratitude and family, but I am grateful and I can’t think of a better way to describe the folks at Canonical and in the Ubuntu community. To all of you: I have never worked with such an incredible collection of intelligent, passionate and capable people. The warmth you have shown me and the trust you have placed in me, not just in response to this announcement but over the years, has impacted me in ways that I cannot describe. I am proud of what we’ve accomplished together, honoured to have been a part of it, and I have learnt so much along the way. I am already nostalgic for the feeling of Ubuntu I have become accustomed to here, in both the Canonical and canonical sense of the word. And yet it’s only my vantage point that will be different: I look forward to many more years with Ubuntu from my new positions in both the Canonical Board and the Ubuntu community.

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