Wikimedia comms unit in flux after departures

The Wikimedia Foundation, the group that runs Wikipedia, is looking to restart its communications function after numerous senior staffers left the organization.

NEW YORK: The Wikimedia Foundation, the group that runs Wikipedia, is looking to restart its communications function after numerous senior staffers left the organization.

In the interim, Geoff Brigham, general counsel and head of the legal and community advocacy team, is leading the comms unit.

Matthew Roth left his post as Wikimedia's global communications manager earlier this month to join Flickr as senior community manager. Last September, Jay Walsh stepped down from his role as communications head after almost six years to found a consultancy. Walsh is contracted to work as an independent adviser and consultant to Brigham until the group hires a new communications chief.

“The communications leadership role definitely still exists,” said Walsh. “The only changes that have happened since I left involve a change to the role's title [from head of communications to CCO]; otherwise, the team is still organized in a similar fashion. There's just a bit of a holding pattern while the search process unfolds.”

Wikimedia has engaged executive search firm Chaloner Associates to help in the recruitment process. It is hoping to announce a new CCO in the next two months.

The organization would not confirm whether Roth would be replaced. Roth and a representative from Flickr did not immediately respond to PRWeek's emails or phone calls.

Since last October, Wikimedia has been in dispute with Wiki-PR, an agency whose primary service is editing Wikipedia pages. Two months ago, the Foundation sent the agency a cease-and-desist letter after it allegedly failed to comply with Wikipedia's terms and conditions by engaging in paid advocacy editing.

Wiki-PR has told PRWeek that it does paid editing for clients, but not paid advocacy work.

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