Please welcome Matthias Kirschner, FSFE’s new President

On Thursday, FSFE’s General Assembly has elected Matthias Kirschner as the organisation’s new president. Having worked closely with him for a decade, I’m hugely happy to see him step up to this role. Together with our new vice president Alessandro Rubini and executive director Jonas Öberg, we’ve assembled a team of exactly the right people to lead FSFE. I’m happy to hand over the reins of the organisation to them.

Matthias has filled a number of roles in FSFE. Starting as the organisation’s first intern, he was in charge of building the Fellowship program, has coordinated the German team, and has been responsible for FSFE’s policy work in Germany. As FSFE’s vice president for the past two years, he has made a huge contribution to setting the organisation on its present successful course.

The many people who make up FSFE put huge amounts of energy into driving software freedom forward. The challenges for Free Software have changed a lot over the past decade. We constantly need to think about how to maintain and defend our autonomy and agency in an age when governments and corporations are prying into every detail of our lives, every day.

In the face of these challenges, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved these past six years. FSFE has grown into a strong advocate for user’s rights, and an important voice in the debate around privacy and autonomy. FSFE is a rare beast in the NGO landscape, combining a large community of local activists and supporters with professional policy work at the EU and national levels. Getting these different lines of work to support each other is something that requires constant attention; but it’s also very rewarding. I know that making community involvement more effective is high on the agenda of Jonas and Matthias.

FSFE is a great organisation, and it’s in great shape. This is an excellent point to hand over the wheel to Matthias and Jonas, who are a supremely capable leadership team. I will give them my full support as a member of FSFE’s General Assembly, and look forward to seeing them help FSFE grow further.

While this means a change of roles for me, it’s not goodbye by any measure. My own next step is to join Siemens Corporate Technology as a consultant, starting September 21. My role will be to support the company in the use of Free Software, and help strengthen Siemens’ integration with the global Free Software community. Of course, I’ll also continue my volunteer engagement with FSFE as a member of the General Assembly.

I’ll see you around!