Supporting continuity and open collaboration

MariaDB Foundation CEO steps down

The time has come for me, Otto Kekäläinen, after serving as the CEO of the MariaDB Foundation since January 2015, to step down. The board has already quietly been searching for a new CEO for some months, but no contract has been signed as of yet, so if you are interested in the position, please send an application to jobs@mariadb.org.

This is a good time for a change of leadership. Some 4 years ago when I started in the MariaDB Foundation the MariaDB Server was clearly the underdog compared to it’s biggest rival. Since then we have won major successes and are now well established as the new M in LAMP thanks to our broad uptake in Linux distributions and development environments (such as WAMP, XAMP, VVV etc.), hosting companies boast on their websites that they offer MariaDB and many developers and architects seem to prefer MariaDB due to our reputation of being well built. Page views at MariaDB.org have grown from the 900k in 2014 to the 2,5 million in 2017, and the 2018 figure will be even higher. We have made a lot of friends and gained both political, technical and financial support across the ecosystem.

On the financial side things are now much better off than 4 years ago. The number of sponsors of the Foundation has grown from 6 in 2014 to 16 currently, and individual donors from zero to hundreds. Most importantly, our funding now comes from a multitude of sources, making it more dependable. A new CEO will have all the monetary and staff resources needed to be able to operate from this point forward.

I greatly enjoyed the multitude of challenges this position had to offer. I didn’t mind the nights and weekends I put in to get technical problems fixed at the last minute, nor the endless discussions and meticulous preparation required to get a lot of different people on board working towards a shared goal. Not even the whooping cough I got from DebConf in Cape Town slowed me down when I felt that what I did was for a good purpose, and I felt pride about the months at year-end I went without a salary to save our budget for our staff salaries.

Now when we have defeated our external enemies (if in open source you can use such terms), and the only thing slowing us down is internal friction, the situation is different. Another style of leadership is needed from this point forward, and it is time for me to step down as the CEO, effective of October 1st. I have agreed to stay around as an adviser to the next CEO and the Foundation’s board, so I will continue in some kind of small part time role, though my main focus will shift elsewhere.

During these years I’ve met many very interesting people and learned a lot, for which I am grateful. I thank you all and wish good luck for MariaDB and to those building upon it.

PS. The MariaDB Foundation is likely to not only recruit a new CEO, but also a few more developers and perhaps a community manager. If you are passionate about MariaDB as an open source project and want to work full-time helping it, send an open application to jobs@mariadb.org.

MariaDB Foundation staff in October 2016

MariaDB Foundation staff in October 2016. Otto second from left.

5 Comments

  1. Rutuja Surve Rutuja Surve
    2018-09-19    

    Thank you for being such an amazing leader, all the very best to you.

  2. Sergei Golubchik Sergei Golubchik
    2018-09-19    

    Thank you, Otto, for all the work you’ve done in bringing MariaDB Server and MariaDB Foundation where they are now!

    I’m very happy you’ll stay around.

  3. 2018-09-20    

    Thank you, you’ve always been a great voice for MariaDB !

  4. Jean-François Gagné Jean-François Gagné
    2018-09-22    

    Thanks Otto.

  5. Di Deng Di Deng
    2018-09-27    

    Otto, Very nice to meet you in China, good luck..

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