Mark Shuttleworth announced in a press call yesterday that he will step down from his role as CEO of Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu operating system, but will remain involved in the Ubuntu project itself. Taking his place will be Jane Silber, who has been with Canonical since 2004.
As reported by Computer World, Shuttleworth said in an interview that he intends to stay head of the Ubuntu Community Council and the Ubuntu Technical Board, and that instead of managing the business, he will be "Working closely on product design and our enterprise customers."
"I will also be working more closely with partners, especially in Asia. I will also work more closely with larger enterprise customers in our new cloud offerings. I will be spending more time on the areas that interest me the most and where I feel I can do the most good," he added.
"I will focus on my passions of product design and development. I want Ubuntu to succeed as the open platform of choice for almost all use types whether on netbook, notebook, desktop, server, embedded device or wherever people compute. That is a large undertaking and being able to focus on that, thanks to Jane, is a great privilege. I will also spend more time talking to and visiting partners and customers about what they demand from an open platform and feeding that back into the product through the community and Canonical."
This does not mean that Ubuntu or Canonical will be changing their goals. Shuttleworth will still set the goals, but Silber will implement the strategies required to reach them, as well as managing the day-to-day business. Shuttleworth also stated that the move is not a case of preparing to take Canonical public soon, but more about ensuring the right people are in the best places they should be for the benefit of Canonical and Ubuntu.
In a yet to be published blog, Silber said that "This move will bring about is a clearer separation of the role of CEO of Canonical and the leader of the Ubuntu community. It will be two different people now, which I think will be helpful in both achieving their joint and individual goals more quickly."
The changeover from Shuttleworth to Silber will be completed by March 1st, 2010.
Thanks to markjensen for the news tip.