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Mozilla CEO resigns amid controversy over donation to anti-gay marriage proposition

Mozilla CEO resigns amid controversy over donation to anti-gay marriage proposition

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Less than two weeks after he was appointed Mozilla CEO, Brendan Eich resigned today amid a controversy stemming from his $1,000 donation to an anti-gay marriage ballot proposition in California. "Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn't live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it's because we haven't stayed true to ourselves," the company said in a blog post. "We didn't act like you'd expect Mozilla to act. We didn't move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We're sorry. We must do better."

Eich, who co-founded Mozilla and previously invented the JavaScript programming language, has also stepped down from the Mozilla Foundation's board, according to Recode. Earlier this week, Eich said he remained confident he was the best person to serve as Mozilla's CEO despite the controversy. But pressure on Eich to resign mounted during an extraordinarily public (and notably civil) discussion among Mozilla employees, developers, and other community members.

"It's clear that Brendan cannot lead in this setting."

Ultimately, the company decided that the protesters were right. "It's clear that Brendan cannot lead Mozilla in this setting," Mitchell Baker, Mozilla's executive chairwoman, told Recode. "The ability to lead — particularly for the CEO — is fundamental to the role and that is not possible here." The company has not decided who will now fill the CEO job, she said. The company interviewed 25 candidates before settling on Eich last month.

After the news broke, Eich acknowledged the resignation on his blog but didn't address the controversy directly. "I encourage all Mozillians to keep going," he wrote. "Firefox OS is even more daunting, and more important. Thanks indeed to all who have supported me, and to all my colleagues over the years, at Mozilla, in standards bodies, and at conferences around the world. I will be less visible online, but still around."

Update, April 3rd, 4:20 p.m.: This post has been updated to include information from Eich's blog post.

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