Mozilla board members resign over CEO pick: Report

Mozilla board members resign over CEO pick: Report

Summary: Three Mozilla board members have reportedly resigned over the organisation's pick for CEO, but not for his stance on same-sex marriage.


As Mozilla on the weekend looked to extinguish the flames of controversy surrounding its pick for CEO, Brendan Eich, it has been reported that three of the six members of the organisation's board have resigned over Eich's appointment.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that former Mozilla CEOs Gary Kovacs and John Lilly, and Shmoop CEO Ellen Siminoff left the board of the non-profit organisation last week, reportedly because they were seeking a CEO outside of the company with experience in the mobile industry who could advance the plans for Mozilla's Firefox OS mobile platform.

Eich, a co-founder of Mozilla, has served as the company's chief technology officer for close to a decade, and Eich said when he was appointed to the role last week that Firefox OS was the organisation's top priority.

"It's like the great circus act — spinning plates while doing back handsprings, and we are definitely turning mobile in the only way that can be really effective. The highest priority is to get volume to Firefox OS, especially the $25 phones," he said.

At Mobile World Congress last month, Mozilla announced it was partnering with semiconductor company Spreadtrum to develop low-cost Firefox OS smartphones. Firefox OS is already available on three devices in 15 markets, but the company wants to expand its availability, particularly into Latin America, parts of Europe, and China.

Eich's appointment raised controversy outside of Mozilla due to the CEO's donation of US$1,000 to the Proposition 8 movement in California in 2008 that resulted in a same-sex marriage ban in the state until the law was overturned by the Supreme Court last year.

In addition to a statement from Mozilla last week, and Eich himself, Mozilla put out an additional statement over the weekend clarifying that although Eich has not indicated his views have changed, Mozilla as an organisation supports marriage equality for same-sex couples.

"Mozilla's mission is to make the web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive and more just. This is why Mozilla supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples. No matter who you are or who you love, everyone deserves the same rights and to be treated equally," Mozilla said.

"We realise that not everyone in our community or who uses our products will agree with this. But we have always maintained that as long as you are willing to respect others, and come together for our larger mission, you are welcome. Mozilla's community is made up of people who have very diverse personal beliefs working on a common cause, which is a free and open internet. That is a very rare and special thing."

Additionally, Mozilla said it encouraged its staff to be candid on its views about the direction of Mozilla, and said it was deeply committed to openness and equality for everyone.

Topics: Open Source, Mobile OS, Mobility


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Anyone has a right to say what they believe......but....

    ....actions and implied denials do have potential consequences. You can be a genius and say hateful things. Create the greatest software and still do stupid tricks. Be any character you want. The fact is CEOs are public figures and they can't easily hide behind unpopular actions. A chief tech officer does not necessarily make a great CEO without other substantial skills. Maybe some do, but the real answer is with Mozilla's Board of Directors. They will judge his effectiveness to lead, not us.
  • Reasons for leaving

    On Saturday, a Mozilla spokesperson forwarded a statement to Ars: "The three board members ended their terms last week for a variety of reasons. Two had been planning to leave for some time, one since January and one explicitly at the end of the CEO search, regardless of the person selected." The representative offered no further clarification.
  • A protocal for a CEO

    As a user of Firefox I care about its performance. I have opinions about gay marriage but that is separate and distinct from software and hardware when it relates to the computer. I may not agree with someone's personal views but if I need their skills it is wasteful to refuse them based upon social issues. Firefox has become even slower than the dreadful Internet Explorer. It needs fixing. It is so slow I have all three and in order Chrome is number one, IE is number two and Firefox is in third place. This would be my hope that you fix it. It was number one with myself and many others for years!
    • Except..

      Although I agree with your post the only flaw in your point is it was not his personal opinion-- he advocates Proposition 8 which actually denied gay peoples rights. There comes a point where personal beliefs and actions against others using those beliefs. I just switched to Chrome (again). I will not support a company (and may others like LGTB and OKCupid) and would rather use another software then support and LGBT hate.
      Mitch Burns
  • Totally baffles me why a "social agenda"....

    should be brought up at all in a forum supposedly focused on technology.... "Josh" is certainly NOT building any kind of credibility with readers, and that should be worth something (negative?)to the publisher.
    • Because Firefox openly and has for ages

      --- Supported equal rights, having a CEO completely against it has cause me to Bogart and OKCupid to Bogart also. If he did not advocate Proposition 8 (which actually denies gay people rights) instead of holding a personal opinion means the CEO may/ will use Firefox to act against its mission statement. Ergo completely destroying their own legacy... Id quit too.
      Mitch Burns
    • Nope

      Actually, his being aware of the social issues increases his credibility with many readers, myself amongst them.
      Liam SWz
  • Technology and politics do not mix

    So what, your ideas don't agree with others and so you can't contribute to technology, which is supposed to benefit everyone? This is a case of people's political motivation interfering and causing progress to lag behind. The truth is what you hear in the media and from famous people is not exactly what the average person thinks. There is a real diversity of opinions down among the people.

    Keep social and political issues out of what is supposed to be a technical one. Do that, and at least we can ensure that everyone will benefit.
    • This isn't "social" or "politica"....

      ....this is about HUMAN RIGHTS. We're not arguing about tax breaks or the budget. Some of open source's foundational principles are meritocracy, openness, and cooperation. Eich has demonstrated that on a personal level he does not support these principles. That makes him unfit to be leading an open source organization.

      There's no such thing as only being a Klansman on the weekends.
      • The point is freedom of speech is still compromised

        For all of Firefox' principles, Eich co-founded Firefox. He worked as its CTO for a long time. He invented Javascript, which is used by most browsers. BBC said he was a champion of net freedom. It's ironic that his being ousted as CEO is nominal because if you use Firefox, you're still using his and other's legacy. Whatever was sought by having him resign was not achieved. You really wanna oppose him? Stop using Firefox and Javascript (that would include OkCupid I guess). I wonder what would've happened if adoption Firefox was opposed back then when it was a fledgling because of its co-founder's views. IE would still rule I guess or worse, we would have to prevent people from contributing to technology unless their views are in line, though I think we're approaching the latter now. And yes, others also made significant contributions to Firefox too, but you still can't write him off or minimize his role.

        He contributed to Proposition 8 alright. And it was defeated. Note that back then it was still a moot point. And let's be honest. It's not just because his views contradict Mozilla's principles; his views, held by any people, are met with opposition anywhere, even in inappropriate places. Freedom of speech is relegated to obligation of PC.

        And please, don't bullshit us with the fact that he is an opponent of open source' principles because of his opposition to gay marriage. Those two are unrelated. He contributed to open source more than you or I will ever do. Stop mixing politics (yes, it is politics whether you like it or not) into technology. And the open source community is actually diverse on this and other matters as well. Although, I'll admit that the left will be predictably more vocal, but not representative; don't believe me? Don't look at the media. Just make a search of user's opinions - Twitter, comments on news,, etc.
  • Pshaw and Pshaw II

    Article quote: "donation of US$1,000 to the Proposition 8 movement in California in 2008 that resulted in a same-sex marriage ban" -- um, his contribution did not result in that Proposition passing.

    Pshaw II: the Board is using that 'donation' to push him out for other reasons, after only a week. He's the fall guy.

    I wouldn't buy anything from Firefox now, if you paid me. Before, I was gonna hang in there, quitting only if Australis didn't allow for rollback. But now, hey -- the Board is sick, using ITS OWN POLITICS to make an issue of a 2008 donation of a pittance, and drumming it all up in the fake guise of being pro freedom and humanity. How disgusting.

    Bye, Mozilla. It will take awhile for me to get rid of your products on my machines, but I will do that. And never will buy from you.
  • Tyranny of the minority

    Mozilla has become another organization that has succumbed to the tyranny of the minority aka LGTB community. What's next? Allowing marriage for members of the man/boy organization whose motto is "sex before eight or it's too late"?
    • Yes...

      ...the poor straight religious heterosexual white males who suffer the tyranny of gay people. :-( Really?
  • fascist control freak Gaystapo

    How tragically sad that a talented person like Brendan Eich should fall victim to the fascist control freak Gaystapo! May he be more appreciated elsewhere.
  • Talk about blowing things out of proportion.

    " Mozilla as an organisation supports marriage equality for same-sex couples."


    This is freaking laughable IMO.

    I use Mozilla because its a quality product, I don't give 2 cents what any of the executives or programmers do in their personal time.

    Who gives a Cr_p what sexual preference one is when they use a piece of software.

    This is just one more example of how bent-out-of-shape things can get in this country, for one person's personal choice/decision.

    He didn't use company money towards this issue, it was his personal money.

    More and more I see our society focus on the less important things and over look the REAL issues.

    Sexual preference is a personal issue and I don't ask or care to know what other peoples preferences are. That's their business and does not need to be worn as a badge, because it just makes the person come off as a joke IMO.

    We are all the same, its just a simple difference in what gender one is attracted to IMO.

    Live your life as you choose, but don't punish others who are making their own choices.

    If you want people to respect your choices, then you have to respect theirs, even if you don't agree.

    It's that simple, but I guess you can't fix stupid.