$ git commit -am “add new ceo”

GitHub CEO steps sideways to explore “new growth opportunities”

Trouble at the top for GitHub? A change of CEO at most startups would spell trouble, but for the social coding service it seems to be more a shifting of interests.

In a blog post titled “New Year, New CEO for GitHub”, co-founder Tom Preston-Werner announced that he was resigning from the position of CEO, to be replaced by fellow co-founder Chris Wanstrath.

Preston-Werner will instead serve as President, which he says will involve taking responsibility for R&D and “new growth opportunities”.

Whereas in some companies the changing of managerial roles might lead to a dramatic reshuffle throughout the company, GitHub works a little differently. There are famously no managers at GitHub, and all 227 staff members are free to work on whatever they like.

As such, Wanstrath and Preston-Werner have already been carrying out these duties for the past few months. “Today we're simply acknowledging the change publicly,” wrote the new President.

The announcement came with this adorable GIF of Preston-Werner passing on his CEO hat and gaining his Presidential security detail.

What could these “new growth opportunities” consist of? It’s thought that GitHub may be turning its attention to drawing users from outside of its core programming userbase. Earlier this month it acquired browser-based WYSIWYG web design tool Easel, with its founders promising to improve the “workflow of designing for the web” at their new home.

Elsewhere, GitHub has been adding vizualisation of 3D modeling files and making it easier to get started with GitHub Pages, its static website hosting service.

It’s not as though the five-year-old service needs to worry about user growth. The 10 millionth repository was created in December, and that number is rising exponentially – this time last year, the site hosted just half that number. Profitable from the very beginning, it has had just one funding round in which is raised $100m.

GitHub’s meteoric rise has not been without its hitches: the company’s repositories are a juicy target for hackers, and the site as a whole has suffered from high-profile outages caused by mysterious DDoS attacks.

Yet with a brand and core product so strong, and continuous improvements additions such as repository analytics, the company looks likely to keep going for some time.

Elliot Bentley

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