Former Mozilla CMO Chris Beard comes on as interim CEO

Steven Loeb · April 14, 2014 · Short URL:

Beard takes over for recently departed CEO Eich; Beard has also joined Mozilla's board of directors

With former CEO Brendan Eich now out of the picture, Mozilla is now looking toward the future, and toward putting all of that unpleasantness behind it a quickly as possible.

To that end, it has appointed a new interim CEO: Greylock Partners executive-in-residence Chris Beard. The appointment was revealed in a blog post on Monday.

Beard actually has as a very long history with Mozilla, having worked there in various positions from 2004 to 2013, including VP of products, chief innovation officer and chief marketing officer. Since leaving in June 2013, he has stayed on as an advisor to the company. 

In addition, Beard is also joining the company's board of directors, something that probably would have happened anyway, according to Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman at Mozilla.

"We began exploring the idea of Chris joining the Board of Directors some months ago. Chris has been a Mozillian longer than most," she wrote. "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 judgement and advice for nearly a decade."

The plan was not, however, to make him CEO. The company thought it had that position filled when itappointed Brendan Eich, who helped found Mozilla in 2003, in late March.

We all now know what happened next: Eich was soon caught up in a firestorm of controversy when it was revealed that he had donated $1,000 to the Prop 8 campaign.

The revelation of that donation led to a number of Mozilla staffers openly calling for Eich's resignation via Twitter, as well as protests from sites like OKCupid, which urged Firefox users to use a different browser to access the site. In addition, at least 70,000 people signed a petition calling for Eich’s resignation, with many more threatening to boycott the browser until Eich either stepped down, or stated that he supports gay marriage.

In the end, after less than two weeks on the job, Eich resigned.

So, with the "unexpected leadership transition" (as Baker calls it) that Mozilla now finds itself in, Beard has come on board to help guide the company as tries to right the ship after a very contentious, and very public, scandal.

"Mozilla needs to act quickly and decisively. This is key for any leader at Mozilla, including our CEO, whether interim or otherwise. Chris’ experience and insight is highly aligned with our goals,” said Baker.

"We will continue to deliver Firefox OS to additional markets and form factors in 2014 as we demonstrate the unique user experiences that only the open Web can provide. We will continue to bring the richness and flexibility of the Web to Firefox users and will further integrate our services offerings."

Now that it has at someone steering the ship again, Mozilla is going to look for a permanent CEO, as well as more board members "who can help Mozilla succeed and continuing our efforts to actively support each Mozillian to reach his or her full potential as a leader."

Might I suggest checking on all of your candidates campaign contributions before making your choice?

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