Mozilla denies pushing CEO to resign

In response to the outcry over his resignation, Mozilla has published an extensive FAQ on the resignation of its controversial short-term CEO Brendan Eich.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Mozilla has denied that the board of the company, or its staff, pushed Brendan Eich to resign, stating he made the decision to leave on his own terms.

Eich resigned last week after less than two weeks as the CEO of the company behind the open-source web browser, Firefox. Fellow developers, community members and other tech companies such as OKCupid had questioned Eich's appointment as CEO after attention was drawn to a donation Eich made to the campaign supporting the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in California in the 2008 election.

The CEO — who also invented JavaScript and had served relatively uncontroversially as Mozilla's chief technology officer for a number of years — had initially attempted to weather the storm of controversy. In an interview with ZDNet's sister site CNET last week, he said that he was a good fit for CEO, and Mozilla's inclusiveness should include people who hold his own views about same-sex marriage.

"I am CEO, and I'm confident I am the best person for the job right now. I serve at the board's pleasure. If that should change, I'll do something else. I don't think it's good for my integrity or Mozilla's integrity to be pressured into changing a position. If Mozilla became more exclusive and required more litmus tests, I think that would be a mistake that would lead to a much smaller Mozilla, a much more fragmented Mozilla," he said at the time.

But Eich's resignation came soon after, with the now former-CEO stating he was resigning, and would step away from the limelight.

Eich's resignation has sparked another round of controversy for the company, with many claiming that Eich's free speech was being impinged upon by gay activists. Those who had criticised moves to boycott the company's software because of Eich's beliefs are now themselves promising to boycott Mozilla because of Eich's resignation.

Firefox's Feedback page Inputs has been inundated with negative comments since Eich's resignation, recording over 59,000 negative comments in three days slamming the company for Eich's decision to leave Mozilla in the wake of the controversy.

Former Republican speaker Newt Gingrich described the movement against Eich as "new facism" against people opposed to same-sex marriage unless they decide to recant like US President Barack Obama has.

In response to the outcry, Mozilla posted an FAQ over the weekend, stating that Eich resigned on his own terms, and was not pushed by staff or the board.

"Board members and senior executives tried to get Brendan to stay at Mozilla in another role or to stay actively involved with Mozilla as a volunteer contributor. Brendan decided that it was better for himself and for Mozilla to sever all ties, at least for now," the company said.

The organisation said that fewer than 10 of the 1,000 employees in Mozilla had called for Eich's resignation, and many more supported the CEO to stay in the top job.

Even those who had originally spoken out against Eich have expressed sadness over his decision to leave. Rarebit founder, and one of the first to speak out against Eich, Hampton Catlin said in a blog post late last week that it was a "sad" victory, when all he had sought from Eich was an apology.

The whole episode is a massive distraction for Mozilla, as the company looks to expand its mobile operating system platform Firefox OS onto new devices and into new markets.

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