Wikipedia Founder, Wikia Board Member & Executive Chairman at The People’s Operator
Jimmy Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur best known for founding Wikipedia.org
, as well as other wiki-related organizations, including the charitable organization Wikimedia Foundation, and the for-profit company Wikia, Inc.
In January of 2001, Wales started Wikipedia.org, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. In mid-2003, Wales set up the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization based in St. Petersburg, Florida, to support Wikipedia.org. The Foundation, now based in downtown San Francisco, boasts a staff of close to 200 focusing on fundraising, technology, and programming relating to the expansion of Wikipedia. Today, Wikipedia and its sister projects are among the top-five most visited sites on the web. Wales now sits on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, and as founder continues to act as a key spokesperson.
In 2004, Wales co-founded Wikia.com, which enables groups of people to share information and opinions that fall outside the scope of an encyclopedia. Wikia’s community-created wikis range from video games and movies to finance and environmental issues. Wikia attracts more than 120 million unique visitors per month and is currently ranked #20 on Quantcast.
Most recently, Wales was appointed as Co-Chairman of The People’s Operator (TPO) in January 2014, a UK-based mobile operator with services in the UK and US that enables customers to donate 10% of their phone bill to a cause of their choice, at no extra cost to them. He was subsequently appointed Executive Chairman in February, 2015. As part of his role at TPO, Wales has led the project to launch TPO.com in July 2015 – an ad-free social network dedicated to bringing people together while at the same time supporting good causes.
In 2007, The World Economic Forum recognized Wales as one of the “Young Global Leaders.” This prestigious award acknowledges the top 250 young leaders for their professional accomplishments, their commitment to society and their potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. As an active supporter of the initiative, he joined the board of the Forum of Young Global Leaders in 2013.
Wales continues to be recognised in several forums for his contributions to online innovation and leadership. In 2006, he received the “Time 100 Award,” as he was named one of the world’s most influential people in the “Scientists & Thinkers” category. In December 2013, Wales was awarded the UNESCO Niels Bohr Medal in Copenhagen, Denmark at a conference on “An Open World” to celebrate to 100th anniversary of Niels Bohr’s atomic theory. He was also named one of the “25 Web Superstars” by the Daily Telegraph in February 2014.
In 2014, Wales was also invited by Google to join an advisory committee that the corporation formed as an addition to the formal process that the ECJ requested from Google in order to manage such requests.
Wales received his Bachelor’s degree in finance from Auburn University and his Master’s in finance from University of Alabama. He was appointed a fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School in 2005 and in 2006, he joined the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization Creative Commons.
During May 2014, Wales became Doctor Honoris Causa of the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI Lugano, Switzerland). In June 2014 Wales received the honorary award of Doctor of Letters from Glasgow Caledonian University.
Wales currently resides in London with his family.