Mozilla names interim CEO

Mozilla has chosen former Chief Marketing Officer Chris Beard to be its interim CEO, after former chief executive Brendan Eich left amid controversy over his past political donations.

After finding itself “in the midst of an unexpected leadership transition,” Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker said in a blog post on Monday that Beard “has one of the clearest visions of how to take the Mozilla mission and turn it into programs and activities and product ideas that I have ever seen.”

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

Beard is currently an executive in residence at Greylock Partners, a venture capital firm. Until 2013 he was Mozilla’s chief marketing officer. He joined the company to launch its Firefox Web browser in 2004.

Eich ended his short tenure as the company’s CEO earlier this month, amid protests over a $1,000 donation he made in support of the 2008 effort to ban same-sex marriage in California. The online dating site OKCupid urged users not to use Firefox, and a number of Mozilla employees publicly asked him to step aside.

Eich, one of the company’s co-founders, had maintained that his political contributions would not affect the company’s operations, but he nonetheless chose to resign on April 3.

Baker at the time said that the company had not “stayed true to ourselves.”

The resignation prompted a backlash from conservatives like former Speaker and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, as well as Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.).