Open Knowledge appoints Pavel Richter as new CEO

April 29, 2015


For immediate release - 29th April 2015

Open Knowledge appoints Pavel Richter as new CEO

Open Knowledge is delighted to announce Pavel Richter as its new Chief Executive Officer. Pavel’s appointment marks a new chapter in the development of Open Knowledge which, over the last ten years, has grown into one of the leading global organisations working on open data and open knowledge in government, research, and culture.

Pavel has a rich and varied background including business as well as leadership in the non-profit sector. In particular, Pavel brings his experience from over five years as the Executive Director of Wikimedia Deutschland: under his leadership, the organisation grew to more than 70 staff, an annual budget of nearly 5 million Euros, and initiated major new projects such as Wikidata. Pavel’s engagement with Open Knowledge follows an extensive international search, led by a team including members of the Board of Directors as well as a community representative.

Karin Christiansen, Chair of Open Knowledge’s Board of Directors, said:

“We are delighted to have Pavel join Open Knowledge. This is an exciting and important time for Open Knowledge with major opportunities for development and growth. We are just starting to see the positive effects that openness is having throughout the world, in our governments, our cultural institutions, our businesses and our societies. Pavel’s leadership will be vital to shape the organisation as it enters its second decade, enabling and driving this change.”

Pavel Richter, Chief Executive Officer of Open Knowledge, said:

“I am excited to join Open Knowledge and to work for a world where essential information is available to everyone. At Open Knowledge, I am looking forward to setting ambitious goals, and working on a global scale - and, especially, with developing countries. For me, openness is not an add-on, but something that needs to be at the heart of our societies, sewn into the fabric of the internet and our institutions. Open Knowledge is already a leading international force in this area, and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to lead such a great organisation and work with a set of extraordinary and passionate people, both staff and members of the broader community.”

Rufus Pollock, President and Founder of Open Knowledge, said:

“I am delighted and excited to welcome Pavel as CEO. This marks an important new chapter in the development of Open Knowledge as an organisation and community. Over the last decade, and especially in the last five years, we have achieved an immense amount. Going forward one of our most important opportunities - and challenges - will be to forge and catalyse a truly global movement to put openness at the heart of the information age. Pavel’s experience, insight and passion make him more than equal to this task and I am thrilled to be able to work with him, and support him, as he takes on this role.”



Rufus Pollock, President and Founder, +44 (0) 7795 176976,

Notes for Editors

Open Knowledge is an award-winning international non-profit working to open up information around the world so it can be used to empower citizens and organisations to build better, fairer and more sustainable societies. Today it has groups in nearly 50 countries, and working groups covering nearly 20 themes. The organisation has worked extensively on almost every area of open knowledge and performed almost every kind of activity: developing standards and licenses (e.g. and Open Data Commons), organising workshops and conferences (e.g. Open Knowledge Festivals and Conferences), supplying tools and infrastructure (e.g. CKAN data management software, used by and many others, and the global Open Data Index), and building services and websites (e.g. Where Does My Money Go? and the Public Domain Review).

Pavel Richter joins Open Knowledge as its Chief Executive Officer. He was Executive Director of Wikimedia Deutschland, and pioneered the internationally acclaimed Wikidata project which is now the fastest growing project for open structured data; Wikimedia Deutschland today supports thousands of volunteers in Germany, advocates nationally and internationally for access to knowledge, and partners with universities and cultural institutions. Pavel is in on the Advisory Board of Transparency International Germany and Code for Germany. Pavel holds a Masters Degree in Political Science, History and Constitutional Law. He worked for 12 years as a management consultant in the IT and banking industry, before he started to focus on managing non-profit organisations. He is married, has one child, and likes to cook, sometimes in public (see #whatpavelcooks on Twitter).

Dr. Rufus Pollock, PhD founded Open Knowledge in 2004. He is an Ashoka Fellow, an Associate of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law at the University of Cambridge, and was formerly a Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow as well as the Mead Fellow in Economics Emmanuel College, Cambridge. As well as forming and leading Open Knowledge, he co-founded the Open Rights Group and is an active advisor of the UK and other governments in the area of openness, transparency and open data. Recently, Nesta named Rufus one of their 10 tech heroes for good.

Karin Christiansen is Chair of Open Knowledge’s Board of Directors, the group that provides the formal governance of the Open Knowledge organisation as a whole. Karin is General Secretary of the Co-operative Party, and is co-founder and former Managing Director of Publish What You Fund. Karin has been a Policy Manager at ONE and Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute in the Centre for Aid and Public Expenditure. She has worked as Economist at the Rwandan Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture and for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In 2011 Karin was named as one of the Devex London 40 Under 40 International Development Leaders.