Finally. At long last and after two CEOs who left after short tenures on the job, Mozilla now has the CEO it always should have had: Brendan Eich will lead the open-source organization that produces the Firefox web browser and the FirefoxOS mobile operating system.
Until today, Eich had been Mozilla’s CTO. In January 2013, Eich expanded his role as CTO, taking responsibility for leading both the platform and product engineering teams at Mozilla.
Eich will fill the CEO role at Mozilla that was left vacant when Gary Kovacs announced in 2013 that he was leaving. I personally never liked Kovacs and always thought he was wrong for the job, having had no real experience or understanding of the browser business. Kovacs was CEO for three years, following the departure of John Lilly in November 2010.
I’ve long held the belief that technical leaders make the best company leaders, too. That is why I’m excited to see Eich take his rightful place as the leader of Mozilla.
Mozilla has never been a for-profit company, and it hopefully never will be. Mozilla is an organisation born out of the ashes of Netscape and the early Web dream. That early dream was all about enabling the Web, via the Web browser, to change the world.
When Netscape’s owner, AOL, open-sourced the Mozilla project in February 1998, Eich was there, initially serving as the chief architect for the project.
Along the way, Mozilla has had its fair share of trials and tribulations. In the early days of its existence, Mozilla was figuring out its place in an Internet landscape dominated by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web browser. Mozilla reinvented itself with the Firefox Web browser and in doing so helped reinvigorate the entire Web space. Browser standards like HTML5 and user-facing innovations like tabbed browsing have become mainstream today, thanks to Mozilla.
Sitting behind Mozilla’s technical effort the whole time has been Brendan Eich.
Mozilla now craves to find its place in the emerging mobile world, with its FirefoxOS and Firefox for Android efforts. Eich knows where the Web was born and why it works, and there is likely no one on Earth as qualified for run Mozilla as Brendan Eich. I, for one, am thrilled that Mozilla has named him as CEO for the next era of Web innovation.
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Originally published on eWeek.