One of the world's best-known South Africans and billionaire founder of Ubuntu Linux, Mark Shuttleworth, is to step down from his post as CEO of Canonical after five years at the helm.
Canonical was formed to provide support and services for Ubuntu.
Shuttleworth will be replaced by long-serving COO Jane Silber from 1 March next year.
In a company blog, Shuttleworth says the announcement will in no way mark a change in direction at Canonical and that it will have little bearing on his continuing future role within the Ubuntu community.
"[The announcement] doesn't mark a change of direction," Shuttleworth says. "Jane and I have worked closely together over the last five years, and while in her new role as CEO she will have the authority to make decisions which may differ from those I would make, we are aligned on our strategy and direction. This change does mark our commitment to continually optimise our operations and offerings, and as Canonical matures as an organisation I believe that Jane brings the skills and experience that we need in the CEO role.
"This change will have no bearing on my role on the Ubuntu Community Council and the Ubuntu Technical Board," he adds. "We will continue to expand the Ubuntu governance structures as the project and Ubuntu community grow, but I am not moving away or relinquishing any community role I hold."
Shuttleworth says his stepping down from the CEO role will free him up for further development of Ubuntu.
"I will focus on my passions of product design and development," he says. "I want Ubuntu to succeed as the open platform of choice for almost all use types whether on netbook, notebook, desktop, server, embedded device or wherever people compute. That is an large undertaking and being able to focus on that, thanks to Jane, is a great privilege. I will also spend more time talking to and visiting partners and customers about what they demand from an open platform and feeding that back into the product through the community and Canonical."
Silber has been with the company since 2004 and has fulfilled many roles within it including OEM services, corporate services, marketing, finance and legal. As well as being its current COO, she is also its director of online services.
"I am excited about the role, energised by the opportunities in front of us, and humbled by the collection of amazing and talented individuals in Canonical and the Ubuntu community," Silber says. "Mark will continue to play a major role in Canonical, and we expect this to be a smooth transition. We are making the announcement now in order to help ensure that