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Shuttleworth steps down as Canonical CEO

Mark Shuttleworth wants to do what he enjoys most: product design and customer building.
Mark Shuttleworth wants to do what he enjoys most: product design and customer building.

Local open source pioneer, Mark Shuttleworth will be stepping down as CEO of Canonical, the business behind Linux operating system, Ubuntu.

From March next year, the company's long standing COO, Jane Silber, will fill his shoes, leaving him to focus on product design and customer building. “Those are the areas that I enjoy most and also the areas where I can best shape the impact we have on open source and the technology market,” Shuttleworth explained in a blogpost.

Despite stepping down as the CEO, Shuttleworth says he will still be actively involved and will play a more direct role in Ubuntu. He is expected to stay head of the Ubuntu Community Council and the Ubuntu Technical Board.

Silber joined the company before the first release of Ubuntu in 2004 and Shuttelworth says he could think of no better leader for Canonical. “We've worked together long enough, and closely enough, that I can be confident of continuity in the pieces I most care about and also excited about the ways in which I think Jane will raise the bar for the senior team.”

He adds that her past experience as VP of General Dynamics makes her the ideal person to take the business to where it needs to be over the next five years. “We are being welcomed as a partner and supplier to ever-larger businesses, and I want to make sure we are a robust answer to their needs.”

[EMBEDDED]The company will be looking at hiring a new COO to take over from Silber and a new lead for Ubuntu One, which she also headed. Shuttleworth says both positions will be advertised publically, although the company will also be considering candidates from inside Canonical.

“There's no rush, so we plan to coordinate things carefully and I expect I'll be focused on my new role by March,” he notes.

Shuttelworth founded Canonical in late 2004, with a vision of creating open source products that would be accessible to everyday users. While Ubuntu is the company's most well known project, it is also involved in the development of Launchpad, an open source tracking system; Bazaar, a development revision control system; and Landscape, a product that helps IT professionals manage multiple systems.

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