Matt Mullenweg to take over Automattic as CEO

There’s a small shakeup at the top of WordPress-creator Automattic: founder Matt Mullenweg announced on his blog today that he will be taking over as CEO. Toni Schneider, who has been working with Automattic (see disclosure) as CEO for eight years, will take over Mullenweg’s former position as advisor.

“Internally this isn’t a big change as our roles have always been quite fluid, and I’ve had some recent practice filling in for him for a few months last year when he was on sabbatical,” Mullenweg explained on his blog. “I’ve learned a tremendous amount from Toni over the years and I’m looking forward to putting that into practice.”

Under Schneider, WordPress has grown to host more than 17 million blogs, which generate 12.9 billion pageviews per month. According to Mullenweg, Schneider will focus on developing Automattic’s other products; the new CEO was intentionally vague about those next steps, but it does hint at possibly some interesting non-Wordpress or WordPress-related products down the line.

Another portion of this switch is the formal acknowledgement of Mullenweg’s transition from tech wunderkind to business CEO. Mullenweg has intentionally held himself back from the reins of his own company for years, as he built WordPress when he was just 20 years old. Apparently, as his 30th birthday passed just a few days ago, the transition is as much a milestone of Mullenweg’s own growth as it is a sign that of where the company is heading.

“Besides, it’s obvious that no one in their twenties should run a company,” Mullenweg wrote. “They think they know everything, a fact I can now say with complete confidence now that I’m 30 and two days old.”

 Automattic is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of Gigaom. Om Malik, founder of Gigaom, is also a venture partner at True.