Mozilla has a new leader, at least in the short term. The custodian of the Firefox browser named former vice president of products and chief marketing officer Chris Beard as its interim chief executive officer.
Beard, who most recently was an executive-in-residence at Greylock Partners venture capital firm, takes over the top spot at Mozilla after former chief technology officer Brendan Eich. Mozilla appointed Eich as the CEO at the end of March, although his stay was short lived after a firestorm of controversy around his support of the Proposition 8 initiative in California that banned gay marriage in the state until overruled by the courts.
Beard started at Mozilla in 2004 as VP of products before becoming the chief innovation officer and later head marketing officer. Even after leaving Mozilla in June 2013, he has listed himself as an advisor to the company. Beard will also be joining Mitchell Baker, Reid Hoffman and Katharina Borchert on Mozilla’s board of directors.
Baker summed up the introduction of Beard on the company’s official blog:
Mozilla is building these kinds of alternatives for the world. It’s why we’re here. It’s why we gather together to focus on our shared mission and goals. We intend to use recent events as a catalyst to develop and expand Mozilla’s leadership. Appointing Chris as our interim CEO is a first step in this process. Next steps include a long-term plan for the CEO role, adding board members who can help Mozilla succeed and continuing our efforts to actively support each Mozillian to reach his or her full potential as a leader.
Beard follows Jay Sullivan as a top executive at Mozilla to be named interim CEO. Sullivan was the chief operating officer of Mozilla and also held the role of CEO after Gary Kovacs resigned from the role in the spring of 2013. Sullivan left Mozilla after Eich was named CEO.
Mozilla still has plenty of work to do to reestablish its leadership. It also needs two more board members after three left when Eich was made CEO. Mozilla also needs to find a new chief technology officer to replace Eich. Li Gong is set to take over the role of COO this year.