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Shuttleworth Steps Down as Canonical Restructures

Shuttleworth Steps Down, Silber Steps Up

December 17, 2009

Sean Michael Kerner

Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, is set to undergo an executive management change. Effective March 2010, Canonical and Ubuntu Linux founder Mark Shuttleworth will step aside as CEO, to be replaced by Jane Silber, who currently serves as Canonical's COO.

The move will see Shuttleworth shift away from day-to-day operations and focus on different aspects of the business and the Ubuntu Linux community. During a call with reporters today, both Shuttleworth and Silber stressed that the move is an evolutionary one, and does not mark a dramatic shift in Ubuntu.

"Over the last couple of years, Jane and I have really shared the responsibilities of coordination and leadership at Canonical," Shuttleworth said. "As we grow up and as we start to focus more on the enterprise market, and as my interest stays with the core product, we've decided to consolidate the leadership and management around Jane."

Shuttleworth stressed however that he will remain active in the Ubuntu community. Aside from the title of CEO of Canonical, which Shuttleworth will be giving up, he is also widely known in the community as the "self-appointed benevolent dictator for life."

"It is a life sentence, and I carry it proudly," Shuttleworth told InternetNews.com. "That title captures my role within the Ubuntu community and that remains unchanged."

He also dismissed as speculation that the executive management shift was any kind of pre-cursor to an acquisition or IPO for Canonical. Canonical is privately held, and according to Shuttleworth, is not currently profitable.

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