Mozilla has named longtime employee Chris Beard (pictured) as its interim CEO, as the company continues its search for a permanent recruit following the scandal around Brendan Eich’s resignation earlier this month.
“Chris has been a Mozillian longer than most,” chairwoman Mitchell Baker wrote in a blog. “I have relied on his judgement and advice for nearly a decade… In this time of transition there is no better person to lead us.”
Baker added that Beard is “a strong candidate” for the permanent CEO position, given his experience. In his early years at Mozilla (2004-2007) he was responsible for leading the Mozilla product, marketing and innovation teams. More recently, he was the firm’s chief marketing officer, leading user, developer and community engagement activities globally, including the initial launches of Firefox on Android and Firefox OS at Mobile World Congress.
Beard was also today named a new member of the board, joining Baker, Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) and Katharina Borchert (chief executive of German news site Spiegel Online). Earlier this month three other directors resigned from the board of Mozilla, but the company denied reports this move was linked to the appointment of Eich as CEO.
Eich stepped down as CEO on 4 April after just 10 days in the role. Eich felt his position was untenable following intense public scrutiny into his political contribution in 2008 to California Proposition 8, a movement opposing gay marriage. This support by Eich was hugely at odds with Mozilla’s ‘equality for all’ mantra.
“We intend to use recent events as a catalyst to develop and expand Mozilla’s leadership,” added Baker in her blog. She noted that next steps include a long-term plan for the CEO role, adding more board members and pushing its mobile Firefox operating system to additional markets and devices in 2014.