[foundation-board] [priority] Update from Gavin Starks

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Fri Sep 7 08:51:22 UTC 2012

Hi All,

*Note: all discussion on this board list is by default confidential but I
would emphasize that this is especially so!*

As you all know Gavin has just joined the board. He talked with me
Wednesday with some great news, namely that he has been selected to be the *CEO
of the newly formed Open Data Institute*. However, as Gavin discusses in
his email below, this also some *raises some questions vis-a-vis his role
as a board member with the Open Knowledge Foundation* (Gavin has requested
I forward this email to this list by the way!).

Having reflected on Gavin's email and discussed briefly with a couple of
board members (Martin and Becky) *I incline strongly towards Gavin's
proposal for a way forward* (set of points after "assume positive benefits
and efficiencies ...").

I am hopeful that any issues can be dealt with and the initial 6-month
period gives us an assessment period to evaluate.

Modulo any further discussion on the issue here, Gavin will be attending (I
believe) the board meeting on Tuesday and we can discuss this further then.
However, *prior reflection, and possibly discussion here, would help
expedite discussion on Tuesday* (when we may be time-constrained).



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gavin Starks <gavin at dgen.net>
Date: 6 September 2012 00:34
Subject: Update
To: Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org>

Hi Rufus

*Strictly confidential*

I have been appointed CEO of the ODI. We aim to announce next week, and I
will start Oct.

Given the emerging relationship between OKFN and ODI, this raises natural
questions about my role on both boards.
Even if there are no material issues, there may be perception issues that
we need to address.
There are several potential courses of action.

You will need to discuss with OKFN board members about any material or
perceived conflicts - I am also very happy to speak with everyone and
suggest we put this into AOB for Tuesday's board meeting to address?

>From my perspective, I would like to assume positive benefits and
efficiencies, and propose the following;
- we continue as planned and add a formal review at 3 and/or 6 month
intervals to assess if there are any issues
- that we co-create a public statement for the website(s) to ensure full
transparency (including stating the above review point)
- that we create a mechanism for me to abstain from any voting issues, or
discussions, that may be seen as conflicted
- that any significant stakeholders (beyond the board) be canvassed for
their opinions so we can address any questions up-front
- that transparency and communication are key to building and maintaining
trust: I encourage everyone to be open with their feedback

If there are issues we feel are too sensitive, we could simply defer the
appointment and review the situation in 6 months.
My objective is to ensure that both organisations maximise their potential
to collaborate, and achieve our common causes.
Right now I see potential benefits, not material conflict - and am
confident that we can navigate if such a situation were to arise.

>From a timing perspective, we will be announcing my ODI role on Weds, and
finalising our comms messages this week - if OKFN are happy, it would be
great to include a message about me joining the OKFN board at the same
time. If we need to discuss, of course this can wait.

Best wishes

Co-Founder, Open Knowledge Foundation
Promoting Open Knowledge in a Digital Age
http://www.okfn.org/ - http://blog.okfn.org/
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