Mozilla CEO resigns after protests of his anti-same-sex marriage stance

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Brendan Eich was Mozilla's CEO for 10 days before he stepped down following pressure over his support of an anti-same-sex marriage referendum.

Circa News

Brendan Eich resigned as the CEO of Mozilla and left the company's board of directors on April 3. His resignation was made "for Mozilla and [its] community," Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker said.

"We will emerge from this with a renewed understanding and humility — our large, global, and diverse community is what makes Mozilla special, and what will help us fulfill our mission." Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Executive Chairwoman

Baker told Re/code April 3 that Eich's ability to lead Mozilla had been damaged by public scrutiny into his support for Proposition 8 and several right-wing political candidates.

Eich was appointed Mozilla CEO on March 24. He was previously the company's CTO. He's also a co-founder of the company.

Mozilla on April 14 appointed Chris Beard interim CEO. Beard, most recently Mozilla's Chief Marketing Officer, has been "actively involved" with the company since before the November 2004 release of Firefox 1.0. Beard was also named to Mozilla's board of directors.

Mozilla on April 24 appointed Andreas Gal as its new CTO. Gal replaces Brendan Eich, who was CTO before briefly serving as CEO.

In a post on his blog, Eich said he was leaving Mozilla "to take a rest, take some trips with my family [and] look at problems from other angles." He encouraged "Mozillians" to "keep going," but said he would be less visible online.

Eich had been facing calls for his resignation since late March, when several Mozilla employees took to Twitter to criticize his $1,000 donation in support of the anti-same-sex marriage Proposition 8 in California in 2008.

"Have waited too long to say this. I'm an employee of @mozilla and I'm asking @brendaneich to step down as CEO. I love @mozilla because we support an open and participatory culture that empowers us to speak up in such moments of disagreement." Chloe Varelidi, game designer at Mozilla

Partnerships lead John Bevan, designer Jessica Klein, Open Badges project lead Chris McAvoy, and engagement team member Sydney Moyer were among the other employees who had openly called for Eich's resignation.

Three of Mozilla's six board members -- Ellen Siminoff, CEO of an education startupformer, and former Mozilla CEOs Gary Kovacs (who's now CEO of computer security company AVG) and John Lilly (now a venture capitalist) -- resigned in late March, though Eich told CNET their resignations had been planned "for some time."

"Beliefs that are protected, that include political and religious speech, are generally not something that can be held against even a CEO. I understand there are people who disagree with me on this one." Brendan Eich, Former Mozilla CEO

Eich gave a series of interviews in early April defending his ability to remain CEO despite calls for his resignation.

Dating website OkCupid <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">added a message to its website</a> on March 31 asking Firefox users to switch to an alternative browser to protest Eich's appointment as Mozilla CEO. The message was removed shortly after Eich's resignation. Source:

Dating website OkCupid added a message to its website on March 31 asking Firefox users to switch to an alternative browser to protest Eich's appointment as Mozilla CEO. The message was removed shortly after Eich's resignation.

Sam Yagan, the CEO and co-founder of OkCupid, donated $500 in 2004 to a Republican Utah congressman who voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, as well as other anti-gay measures. Yagan's donation came four years before Eich's donation in support of Prop 8.

The National Organization for Marriage, which supported Prop 8, called on April 4 for a boycott of the Firefox web browser to protest the resignation of Eich days earlier.

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