Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigns amid controversy

"We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act," said the software company's executive chairwoman in a memo on Thursday.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Following a whirlwind of controversy and a few weeks in the headlines, Brendan Eich is resigning as Mozilla's chief executive officer.

Mozilla announced the decision in a blog post on Thursday.

Eich had only been chief of the company behind popular web browser Firefox for a very brief term. Mozilla had been searching for a new CEO since Gary Kovacs, who came on-board in 2010, departed almost a year ago.

But it soon came to light, or rather resurfaced, that Eich had made a $1,000 donation to the campaign supporting Proposition 8 amid the 2008 Presidential election.

Prop. 8 sought to ban same-sex marriage in California.

Although he initially rebuffed criticism about his donations and politics, Eich soon expressed sorrow "at having caused pain" to Firefox users offended by his donation.

Those sentiments weren't nearly enough for Internet users and even Mozilla's board members alike -- three of whom were initially reported to have jumped ship over Eich's appointment.

Other figures in the tech community lambasted Mozilla over Eich. Online dating giant OkCupid even redirected users visiting the site via Firefox to a pointed letter calling for Eich's resignation. The landing page also asked visitors to access OkCupid through alternative browsers and apps in the meantime.

According to Firefox's memo on Thursday, Eich has chosen to leave the company on his own versus being fired.

But there is no love lost in the send-off either.

"We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act," said Mitchell Baker, the software company's executive chairwoman. "We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better."

As for a replacement, Baker added that "Mozilla’s leadership is still being discussed."

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