I just learned today that KDE has no formal governance like Gnome or Debian or many other similar FLOSS organizations. They have a voluntary conflict resolution process, and an agreed upon code of conduct and project management process… and thats it? It has no leaders. No ruling committees.
Their non profit legal entity exists only to fund the minimal amount of infrastructure they need for their servers and conferences; and are bound from never interfering or directing development.
They seemed to call themselves a meritocracy until the early to mid 2000s. After which their language seems to have shifted. They mostly consider themselves a free culture org now that incubates and produces free culture projects. And explicitly seem to say no contributor has any more importance than another.
I keep reading that KDE committers have privileges to contribute to ANY KDE project. They seem to believe in a radical no gatekeeping. Release managers mostly seem to coordinate and not dictate.
This makes the whole thing I recall from Kubuntu not having any project leaders make more sense.