Mozilla appoints former marketing head to interim CEO

Chris Beard steps in for Brendan Eich, who resigned after two controversial weeks

Chris Beard, CEO of Mozilla
Chris Beard, CEO of Mozilla

Attempting to quickly recover from a contentious and ultimately failed CEO appointment last month, the Mozilla Corporation has appointed board member Chris Beard as interim CEO.

"Mozilla finds itself in the midst of an unexpected leadership transition," wrote Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker in an online statement announcing Beard's appointment to the role. Beard has also been appointed to Mozilla's board of directors.

Last month, Mozilla appointed JavaScript creator and Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich to CEO, but he stepped down from the post after two weeks because his appointment prompted widespread protests from Mozilla employees and users, who were angered by Eich's 2008 contributions to support Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage.

Beard starting working as chief marketing officer for Mozilla in 2004, and oversaw the launch of its current browser, Firefox, in 2005. Beard also managed the launches of Firefox on Android and the Firefox OS for mobile phones.

"Chris has one of the clearest visions of how to take the Mozilla mission and turn it into programs and activities and product ideas that I have ever seen," Baker wrote.

In June 2013, he left Mozilla to work as executive in residence for venture capital firm Greylock Partners, though he continued to act as an advisor for Mozilla.

Prior to joining Mozilla, Beard worked in marketing positions for Hewlett-Packard and, briefly, Sun Microsystems.

Beard also led an effort to port Linux to HP's platform based on RISC (reduced instruction set computing) and formed a consulting firm, the Puffin Group, around this architecture.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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