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Web Summit appoints new CEO after predecessor quits over Israel-Hamas comments

People attend the Web Summit, a technology conference, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2023. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
People attend the Web Summit, a technology conference, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 3, 2023. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

Katherine Maher, the former CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation, has been named CEO of Web Summit. Paddy Cosgrave resigned after his remarks on the Israel-Hamas conflict caused some firms to cancel their participation in a forthcoming conference.

Web Summit founder Cosgrave resigned as CEO earlier this month, citing his remarks about the issue as a diversion from one of the most prominent digital conferences in the world, Web Summit 2023 in Lisbon, scheduled to begin on November 13.

Rather than being the host, Web Summit has become the topic of discussion in recent weeks. In a blog post announcing her hiring, Maher said, “The personal remarks of the event’s founder and former CEO, Paddy Cosgrave, overshadowed its purpose.” “Today Web Summit is entering its next phase.”

Maher is the chair of the messaging app Signal Messenger and served as the five-year leader of the international charity that created Wikipedia, according to a statement from Web Summit.

The statement “War crimes are war crimes even when committed by allies” that Cosgrave made on the social networking platform X regarding Israel’s lethal airstrikes on the Gaza Strip in retribution for the mass murders in Israel on October 7 by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas received condemnation.

Following up on his earlier remark, Cosgrove noted that “what I said, the timing of what I said, and the way it has been presented have caused upset to many” about Hamas’ attack on October 7.

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