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Half of Mozilla's board reportedly resign over new CEO choice

Half of Mozilla's board reportedly resign over new CEO choice

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Three members of Mozilla's six-person board have reportedly left the software company over its appointment of Brendan Eich as chief executive officer this week. According to The Wall Street Journal, former Mozilla CEOs Gary Kovacs and John Lilly, along with Ellen Siminoff, the CEO of education startup Shmoop, all resigned last week just before Eich's promotion was made public. Still on the board is Mozilla co-founder Mitchell Baker, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and Spiegel Online's CEO Katharina Borchert, The Journal says.

Worries over a donation to Prop 8

Eich co-founded Mozilla and invented JavaScript, though has become the target of scorn from employees who took offense to his alleged $1,000 donation in support of Proposition 8, a California ballot measure from 2008 that banned same-sex marriage. That measure passed, but was later ruled unconstitutional in 2012. Eich acknowledged skepticism about his appointment in a blog post earlier this week, arguing that he was "committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion." Critics say that stance has come too late.

According to The Journal, the former board members were seeking a company outsider to serve as CEO, and the reasoning was not related to the aforementioned donation. Ahead of Eich's new role, the company was relying on Jay Sullivan as acting CEO. Sullivan, who left as part of the shuffle, spent six years at Mozilla and was previously its chief operating officer, a role that's being filled by former Microsoft and Sun Microsystems veteran Li Gong.

Update: A previous version of this post characterized Eich's $1000 donation in support of Prop 8 as an investment. That has since been changed.

Update 2: A Mozilla spokesperson says "the three board members ended their terms last week for a variety of reasons," adding "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."