ushahidi
Following the news of changes in Ushahidi’s board that emerged over the past weekend, the board issued a statement to clear the air over what exactly the reshuffle means for the company.

“At a board meeting held on 21 October 2015, Ethan Zuckerman, Stephen King and Dorcas Muthoni rotated off the board. Ushahidi thanks them for their valuable contributions to the company during their tenure on the board and wish them the very best for the future.”

The controversial news of the exit of Ethan Zuckerman, Stephen King and Dorcas Muthoni was first broken on Twitter by tech blogger Robert Alai, who alleged that the changes in the board were a result of fraud.

Immediate former board chair Ethan Zuckerman dismissed these allegations, stating that he was resigning from the board due to differences in opinion. He added that he ceded the board chair position to Erik Hersman, one of Ushahidi’s founders.

“The truth is much less exciting”, Erik Hersman said via email to TechCabal. He went on to say say that Zuckerman’s resignation coincided Ushahidi’s new board member search process, and that the timing “worked out well”.

Rotation or resignation?

It gets a bit confusing right around here. Ushahidi’s official statement said that Ethan Zuckerman and the other two board members were “rotated off” because their tenures had expired. But the wording of Ethan Zuckerman’s tweets indicates that tension between him and the founders was what led to his exit.

Erik Hersman acknowledged that there was a difference of opinion with former Ushahidi Board Chairman, Ethan Zuckerman on the company’s future focus. However, he maintains that they parted on good terms. He added that board members of the board resign either when they get rotated off, or if they choose to leave of their own volition.

As for Sally Chin, who joined the board at the same time as Ethan, Erik noted that she had agreed to maintain her position as the board went through the process of shortlisting and appointing of new board members.

From that same emailed conversation, we understand that the founders are now board members and are not involved in the daily operations of Ushahidi. Erik Hersman joined Ushahidi’s board in 2012 along with the other founders, Juliana Rotich and David Kobia. Ory Okolloh, also a founder, left Ushahidi to join Google since 2010.

The current Ushahidi board comprises Erik Hersman, Clay Shirky, Juliana Rotich, Nora Denzel, David Kobia and Sally Chin. Erik Hersman is the new chairman of the board. The company is in the process of finding new directors to replace the three that have left.

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