Wikipedia editors make trustee resign

Wikimedia Image copyright Wikimedia Foundation
Image caption Arnnon Geshuri was appointed this month

Arnnon Geshuri has stepped down as a trustee of Wikipedia's governing body, under pressure from the site's editors.

Nearly 300 backed a vote of no confidence over allegations of involvement in a no-poaching deal while he was a Google human resources boss.

Mr Geshuri was alleged to have fired an employee who violated an agreement by approaching an Apple staff member.

Wikimedia board members said Mr Geshuri did not want to be a distraction from the organisation's work.

Patricio Lorente, who chairs the board, and its vice-chair, Alice Wiegand, announced Mr Geshuri's decision to editors on Wednesday.

They wrote: "Throughout the discussion about the appointment of Arnnon Geshuri to the board of trustees, the board has carefully listened to you and discussed internally.

"Earlier today, Arnnon decided to step down from the board.

"To paraphrase his words, he doesn't want to be a distraction for the important discussions that the community and the foundation need to face in the times to come.

"We want to thank Arnnon for his ongoing commitment and for helping us to move forward.

"The board governance committee is working to improve and update our selection processes before we fill the vacancy left by Arnnon's departure.

"We are sorry for the distress and confusion this has caused to some in our community, and also to Arnnon."

Documents filed with a US court indicated Mr Geshuri, who now works for Tesla Motors, had been involved in enforcing a deal struck between Apple and Google not to poach each other's staff.

In a 2007 email, while he had been working at Google, he had assured his boss, Eric Schmidt, that a company employee would be "terminated within the hour" for approaching an Apple staff member, the documents indicated.

Mr Schmidt had contacted Mr Geshuri after Apple's co-founder Steve Jobs had complained to him, the documents indicated.

In 2015, Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe all agreed to settle a legal action over related claims for $415m (£289m).

The day before it was announced that Mr Geshuri had stepped down, Ms Wiegand wrote to editors insisting that he had the board's backing, despite their objections.

"We understand this conversation will continue, and we will continue to monitor it. However, we want to be clear that the board approved Arnnon unanimously and still believes he is a valuable member of the team," she wrote.

Mr Geshuri has not responded to a request for comment.

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