Marieke Flament Steps Down as CEO of NEAR Foundation, Chris Donovan Takes the Helm

In a recent blog post, the NEAR Foundation announced a significant leadership transition. Marieke Flament, who has been instrumental in the organization’s remarkable progress over the past two years, will be stepping down from her role as CEO. In her place, Chris Donovan, the General Counsel of the NEAR Foundation, will take the helm as the new CEO. This transition is part of the Foundation’s ongoing evolution to support its vision of an Open Web.

Marieke Flament, who has been at the forefront of NEAR’s success, will not be leaving the organization entirely. She will continue to contribute as a strategic advisor to Chris Donovan until the end of the year and will maintain a vital role within the NEAR Foundation’s Council (NFC). This move signifies a smooth transition that aims to ensure continuity and sustained growth within the organization.

Marieke Flament

The NEAR Foundation’s vision revolves around the concept of an Open Web, where users have genuine ownership of their data and assets. Moreover, they are empowered to actively participate in value creation, ownership, and governance within permissionless systems. The ultimate aspiration is to involve billions of users in this Open Web ecosystem.

To achieve this ambitious goal, the NEAR Foundation has devised a two-fold strategy. Firstly, they have been working on attracting prominent Web2 organizations into the realm of Web3. Secondly, they have been nurturing grassroots communities to empower the ecosystem. All of these efforts are powered by the Blockchain Operating System and the NEAR Protocol.

The NEAR Foundation’s strategy has already borne fruit. With over 2.6 million Monthly Active Users (MAU) on the NEAR protocol, it has become one of the top 5 most active blockchains. Innovative partnerships, such as the collaboration with Cosmose AI, have further bolstered the ecosystem’s growth.

In recent months, discussions have been ongoing between the NEAR Foundation’s leadership and the NEAR Foundation Council (NFC) regarding the strategic direction of the organization. The objective has been to determine the best path forward to support the NEAR ecosystem in realizing its broader vision.

As a result of these discussions, Marieke Flament has made the decision to transition into a council-only position. In this role, she will continue to support the evolution of the Foundation. Chris Donovan, who brings a wealth of experience in web3 and has been with the Foundation for over a year, will take over as CEO. His primary focus will be working closely with the NFC and the broader ecosystem to advance the Foundation’s evolution plans.

Mona El Isa, Chairperson of the NFC, expressed her support for the transition, stating, “Marieke has been pivotal in all the incredible progress the NEAR ecosystem has made over the last two years, bringing NEAR to be one of the most active ecosystems in web3 and progressing the journey of the ecosystem towards decentralization. Amidst many critical industry and world events, Marieke has set the NEAR Foundation and the NEAR ecosystem on a solid pathway. I am excited to welcome Chris into his new role – I could think of no one better placed to continue the Foundation’s mission and wish him all the success.”

This leadership transition represents a pivotal moment for the NEAR Foundation as it continues to strive towards creating an Open Web that empowers users and fosters innovation in the world of blockchain and decentralized technologies. The organization’s commitment to its vision remains unwavering, and with Chris Donovan at the helm, the future looks promising for the NEAR ecosystem.

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