Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich steps down following anti-gay marriage controversy

Barely ten days after being appointed, Eich has resigned following a sustained campaign by social media users and LGBT rights activists.
By Ananth Baliga   |   April 3, 2014 at 4:53 PM  |  Updated April 3, 2014 at 7:06 PM   |   Comments

REDMOND, Wash., April 3 (UPI) -- Mozilla Chief Executive Brendan Eich is resigning following a revelation that he donated $1,000 toward California's Proposition 8, causing an uproar on social media.

Eich, who is also the co-founder of Mozilla and the creator of JavaScript, was appointed on March 24, but after news of his personal donation came out, social media, his own employees and other businesses like OKCupid, a popular dating site, asked for his removal from the company.

"Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO," Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of Mozilla, wrote in a blog post. "He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community."

Baker, in the post, said that the company holds itself "to a different standard" and that in the last week they did not live up to it. He said that they had failed to engage with people once the controversy started and apologized for the company's behavior.

He went on to reiterate, as the company has done over the past week, Mozilla's support of equal rights for all, including marriage rights for the LGBT community.

"Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard," he added.

Eich had recently stated that he would not resign unless asked by the company's board. But his appointment led to resignation of three members of the company's board.

“The three board members ended their terms before Brendan was publicly announced as CEO for a variety of reasons. Two had been planning to leave for some time, one since January and one explicitly at the end of the CEO search, regardless of the person selected,” said a Mozilla spokesperson.

It seemed inevitable that with the pressure mounting, the company would likely ask him to leave the position.

"I have decided to resign as CEO effective today, April 3rd and leave Mozilla. Our mission is bigger than any one of us, and under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader. I will be taking time before I decide what to do next,” said Eich.

Mozilla said that they are still considering what's next for the organization's leadership and that these questions are "still being discussed."

[Mozilla Blog]
[Wall Street Journal]

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