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Wikipedia editors force trustee to resign

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A trustee of Wikipedia’s governing body has resigned after coming under pressure from the site’s editors.

Arnnon Geshuri has stepped down after nearly 300 Wikipedia editorial volunteers backed a vote of no confidence over allegations Mr Geshuri fired an employee during his time at Google over a “no poaching” deal on staff that was regarded as “anti-competitive”.

In his time as a human resources boss at the technology giant, he is alleged to have fired a staff member who violated the deal by approaching an Apple employee. According to court documents filed in the US, part of Mr Geshuri’s role saw him enforcing an agreement made between Google and Apple not to poach each other’s staff.

In a 2007 email, Mr Geshuri told then Google boss Eric Schmidt that the employee would be “terminated within the hour” for contacting an Apple staff member.

Wikimedia, the parent company of the online encyclopaedia, confirmed Mr Geshuri’s departure in a statement to editors.

Patricio Lorente, the board’s chairman – along with vice-chair Alice Wiegand, said: “Throughout the discussion about the appointment of Arnnon Geshuri to the board of trustees, the board has carefully listened to you and discussed internally.

“Earlier today, Arnnon decided to step down from the board.
“To paraphrase his words, he doesn’t want to be a distraction for the important discussions that the community and the foundation need to face in the times to come.
“We want to thank Arnnon for his ongoing commitment and for helping us to move forward.”

Just a day before announcing his departure, Ms Wiegand had written to Wikipedia editors insisting Mr Geshuri still had the board’s support having been approved “unanimously” to join. He is yet to comment on his departure from the site, which celebrated its 15th anniversary last week.

“The board governance committee is working to improve and update our selection processes before we fill the vacancy left by Arnnon’s departure,” continued the board’s statement.
“We are sorry for the distress and confusion this has caused to some in our community, and also to Arnnon.”

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