Shari Steele is resigning her position as the director of the Tor Project, according to a report by Cyberscoop. Steele will remain director through December 31st, and the search for her replacement is still underway.
Responsible for the development and maintenance of the Tor anonymity network, the Tor Project has long been a central institution in the internet freedom community. For many, Steele’s directorship, which started in December 2015, signaled a sea change within the organization and shifted Tor towards being more inclusive and community focused. The following May, developer Jacob Appelbaum left the Tor Project amid widespread accusations of sexual assault, triggering a broader crisis within the organization. (Appelbaum denies the allegations.) The following month, Tor replaced its board of directors.
“I had intended to retire after my time with EFF, but I believed strongly in the Tor Project’s mission, and I felt I could help,” Steele wrote in a blog post after the news broke. “I look at the Tor Project organization today and feel quite confident that we’ve got the talent and the structure to continue to support the organization’s great work.”
The reason for Steele’s planned departure is still unclear. Tor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Update 9:24PM ET: Updated with statement from Steele.