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Mozilla Foundation, maker of the Firefox Web browser is now in search of a new CEO.

After enduring a week of protests over his past support of a California anti-same sex marriage group, Brendan Eich, who was appointed March, 24 to head Mozilla, is stepping down.

On Thursday, Eich issued a statement saying that Mozilla mission is “bigger than any one of us and under the present circumstances. I cannot be an effective leader.”

Eich was con-founder of Mozilla and inventor of the JavaScript programming language and also a centre of the Open Web philosophy that Mozilla held and promoted ever since its inception. Now, his departure raises questions as to how far can corporate leaders express their political views.

“I don’t think it’s good for my integrity or Mozilla’s integrity to be pressured into changing a position,” Eich wrote. “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 also said that attacks on his beliefs could harm Mozilla.

“If Mozilla cannot continue to operate according to its principles of inclusiveness, where you can work on the mission no matter what your background or other beliefs, I think we’ll probably fail,” he said.

The non-profit maker of Firefox angered many members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community last week when it named Eich as CEO. In 2008, Eich contributed $1,000 to ProtectMarriage.com, a group of conservative and religious political groups supporting the passage of California’s Proposition 8 which banned same-sex marriages in the state. The law was later declared unconstitutional by a federal court.


Credo Action, an online network of progressive activist, also launched an online protest demanding Eich “an unequivocal statement of support marriage equality” or failing that, resign or be fired by Mozilla. Online dating site OkCupid which called on its users not to access the site through the Mozilla developed Firefox browser. About eight per cent of OKCupid matches are between same-sex couples.

Some Mozilla employees also went on the social media to express their displeasure with appointment of Eich.

Corporate leaders often use their position to “push for certain viewpoints,” Samuel Culbert, management professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, was quoted in a report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. “but they have to think of both sides.”

CEO need to be conscious of the impact of their views have on the success of their organization and that taken a position that is potentially divisive can alienate customers and employees.

Mozilla has not had a full CEO since Toronto-born Gary Kovacs left in 2013, observes the online publication Readwrite.com. Eich was supposed to replace Kovacs interim replacement Jay Sullivan.

The company is also out three board members after three of its existing members resigned when Eich was made CEO.

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