Mozilla Appoints Chris Beard As Interim CEO
April 15, 2014

Mozilla Appoints Interim CEO After Brendan Eich Steps Down Amidst Protests

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

Last year Microsoft was able to conduct a long and thought out search process to find a new CEO after Steve Ballmer announced he would leave the company. After numerous names were floated around Satya Nadella was named as CEO, and so far so good over in Redmond, Wash.

Meanwhile at the offices of Mozilla things haven’t gone exactly as planned. On Monday the company appointed board member Chris Beard as interim CEO just a month after the last newly appointed CEO stepped down.

JavaScript creator and Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich seemed to be the perfect fit for the company, but stepped down less than two weeks after taking the helm of the company that is known for its open source offerings. Eich was forced to step down following protests from Mozilla employees and users, who were reportedly angered by Eich’s 2008 contributions to support Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage.

“Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves. We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better,” the company posted on its official blog on April 3.

The post added, “Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard. Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.”

According to CNN, Eich donated $1,000 to the California Proposition 8 campaign six years ago, and this prompted Firefox users and developers – as well as members of the gay community – to call for his ouster. CNN also reported that the dating site OkCupid called for a boycott of the Firefox browser. As a result Eich stepped down from his post.

On Monday, Beard - who was also a founding member of the company who had served as chief operating officer and who helped launch the Firefox browser - was pegged as the new interim CEO by Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker. In July 2013 Beard took the position of executive-in-residence at Greylock Partners.

“Mozilla finds itself in the midst of an unexpected leadership transition. Along with my fellow board members Reid Hoffman and Katharina Borchert, I am pleased to announce the next step in this transition: the appointment of Chris Beard to the Mozilla Corporation Board of Directors, and as our interim CEO,” Baker wrote in a post on Tuesday. “We began exploring the idea of Chris joining the Board of Directors some months ago. Chris has been a Mozillian longer than most. He’s been actively involved with Mozilla since before we shipped Firefox 1.0, he’s guided and directed many of our innovative projects, and his vision and sense of Mozilla is equal to anyone’s. I have relied on his judgment and advice for nearly a decade. This is an excellent time for Chris to bring his understanding of Mozilla to the Board.”