I’m delighted to announce that Creative Commons has selected Catherine Stihler to be its next CEO.
Catherine has been a champion for openness as both a legislator and practitioner for more than 20 years. She currently serves as CEO of the Open Knowledge Foundation, an organization whose work is fully aligned with the values and mission of Creative Commons. During her tenure, she has successfully redefined OKF’s vision and mission, reengaged its global chapters, and increased its international profile.
Prior to her work with OKF, Catherine was a longtime Member of the European Parliament. As one of Scotland’s most respected legislators, she was active on digital policy issues including copyright reform, citizen privacy and data protection, and improving public access to digital tools. Among her many achievements, she founded the Parliament’s All-Party Library Group, promoting and advocating for the importance of libraries in the digital age.
It’s been a pleasure getting to know Catherine, and hearing her ideas for how Creative Commons can make a meaningful and long-lasting impact in a moment of tremendous global change. The CC Board has been so impressed by her inclusive and collaborative leadership skills, her vision for the future of our organization, and her passion for CC’s mission of eliminating legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity to address the world’s pressing challenges. We, along with the CC staff, are truly thrilled to begin working together with her.
Next year we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Creative Commons. That’s two decades of making the world a more open and equitable place through sharing. It’s a huge milestone for CC and the perfect time to welcome a new leader to guide us into our next era. It coincides with events that make the need to remove unnecessary obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity clearer and more urgent than ever. Our current health and environmental emergencies, including the emergency of systemic racism and inequality, are global crises that require collective action and wisdom. CC’s modest but critical role in addressing these crises is to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and creativity that empower that collective action and nourish that collective wisdom.
We enter this next chapter at Creative Commons with gratitude to our Interim CEO Cable Green, who will resume his critical leadership role as Director of Open Education; to former CEO Ryan Merkley, now a key collaborator in his role at the Wikimedia Foundation; and to the Open Knowledge Foundation, with whom we look forward to continued collaboration. Thanks also to the Creative Commons staff, CC Global Network, funders, and Board of Directors; as well as Kathleen Yazbak and her team at Viewcrest Advisors. All of their insights shaped our search process and will lay the foundation for our future success.
Catherine will officially join us on August 17. Until then, please join me in welcoming her to Creative Commons.