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4/4/2014
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Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Resigns

Eich, who helped found Mozilla in 1998, steps down as CEO following criticism from employees and outsiders.

Brendan Eich has chosen to step down as Mozilla's CEO, a position to which he was appointed two weeks ago, following objections from both inside and outside the company. Eich is also leaving Mozilla for an indeterminate amount of time.

Eich's appointment to helm Mozilla, known for its Firefox web browser and Firefox OS among other open-source projects, created a firestorm within the company and among the developer community upon which it depends. In 2008, Eich donated $1,000 in support of Proposition 8, a California law approved by voters that banned same-sex marriage and was subsequently found to be unconstitutional.

Eich is not the only tech executive to have taken that position: In 2010, prior to becoming CEO of HP, Meg Whitman supported Proposition 8. She subsequently reversed her stance on the issue, as she noted in a post published through LinkedIn last year. And outside the executive suite, plenty of technology professionals at Apple, Google, and Microsoft, to name but a few companies, made donations in support of Proposition 8. But Mozilla's unusual status as a for-profit, public-benefit company under the non-profit Mozilla Foundation appears to bring with it a different set of expectations.

[Want to know what makes an innovative company? See InformationWeek Elite 100: Winning Digital Strategies.]

Eich, the creator of JavaScript, helped found Mozilla in 1998 and became CTO of the company in 2005. Mozilla's previous CEO, Gary Kovacs, resigned a year ago. After that, COO Jay Sullivan served as acting CEO while Mozilla sought a replacement.

After being named CEO late last month, Eich took the opportunity to address doubts about his commitment to social equality and to express his "sorrow at having caused pain." In a blog post last week, he promised to support equality, to engage with the LGBT community and its supporters, and to uphold Mozilla's inclusive health benefits and its antidiscrimination policies.

But that failed to mollify critics. Last week, several Mozilla employees called via Twitter for Eich to step down, because they considered Eich's donation to be inconsistent with Mozilla's mission. The departure of three board members who did not support Eich's candidacy -- reportedly for reasons other than his support for Proposition 8 -- further weakened his position.

Mozilla executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker announced Eich's decision in a blog post and issued an apology for failing to uphold organizational standards and for fueling the discord through inaction.

"Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn't live up to it," she said. "We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it's because we haven't stayed true to ourselves. We didn't act like you'd expect Mozilla to act. We didn't move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We're sorry. We must do better."

That's the assessment offered by several purported Mozilla employees and managers on Glassdoor.com, a company review and employment website. Though Mozilla gets mostly positive reviews as a place to work, three recent posts (here, here, and here) lament the company's many executive departures, its leadership vacuum, and its insular culture.

In a discussion of Eich's departure on Hacker News, there's a similar mix of opinion, with some arguing that Eich shouldn't be punished for his political views. But others approve of the outcome. One person commenting under the username wtallis said, "Eich went beyond merely having and expressing an unpopular opinion. He took action to support the effort to have his opinion forced upon others by the government. He couldn't restrain himself to respectful disagreement, and that's why he's suffering more severe consequences."

Another possible consequence may be greater usage of shell companies and front organizations to shield political donors who may seek high-profile positions.

In a blog post Thursday afternoon, Eich said he is "leaving Mozilla to take a rest," to travel with his family, and to look at technical problems in a new light. He did not state explicitly whether his departure is permanent; he appears to have left the door open to continued involvement with Mozilla by noting, "I will be less visible online, but still around."

Too many companies treat digital and mobile strategies as pet projects. Here are four ideas to shake up your company. Also in the Digital Disruption issue of InformationWeek: Six enduring truths about selecting enterprise software. (Free registration required.)

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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usernumber1
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usernumber1,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/4/2014 | 10:26:02 AM
Golden Parachute
It's rerally a shame this guy gets to live the rest of his life as some rich guy who hates gay people.

 

In Corporate America, we should destroy our failed chief executives. That'd give them some incentive to do a good job.
loki_racer
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loki_racer,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/4/2014 | 10:32:09 AM
Re: Golden Parachute
The guy donated $1000 an anti-gay marriage group.  That's a far cry from being someone that hates gay people.

Additionally, he's not exactly a nobody.  He cofounded Mozilla and created Javascript.

Would I have donated to the same group, no.  Do I think this was turned in to a witchhunt, yes.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
4/5/2014 | 7:00:18 PM
Re: Golden Parachute
I wouldn't even phrase it that way. He donated $1000 to a group trying to protect marriage and society from being distorted and damaged further. He may very well love gay people. The assumption that he doesn't shows that the LGBT activists don't even have a clue why many voted for Prop 8 (and are opposing the pressure and tactics they are using).
WampyP893
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WampyP893,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/4/2014 | 10:34:43 AM
Re: Golden Parachute
It's really a shame that you get to live the rest of your life as some guy who hates people that hates gay marrige.

Do you see how ignorant you sound?

Can't someone have a different opinon ?
RobertHughes
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RobertHughes,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/4/2014 | 10:46:35 AM
Re: Golden Parachute
So how exactly has he failed?  Oh... he donated money to a cause you don't support.  In browsing the article I don't see where it says he donated company money but I do see where he re-affirmed Mozilla's inclusion policies.

 

Would I support proposition 8 if I lived in California?  Absolutely not.  I do support his right to donate his money to whoever he chooses.  This is a slippery slope; "Oh, you voted for Candidate-X who supports issue-y.  I'm going to start a crap-storm to have you fired."

 

And way to be a fool.  Supporting legislation to ban gay marriage is not the same thing as hating gay people.  I have Christian family members who don't condone gay marriage but love homosexuals all the same.  Disagreeing with something doesn't mean you hate it (or a group) it just means you disagree with something.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
4/5/2014 | 7:03:03 PM
Re: Golden Parachute
The hate stuff is just rhetoric for the most part. Unfortunately, so many people are non-reflective in their thinking, that I'm sure some percentage of them actually belive it. For Christians, opposing someone trying to hurt themselves, and trying to do the best thing for society is a loving thing to do.
ShaunWallace43
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ShaunWallace43,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/6/2014 | 10:00:44 AM
Re: Golden Parachute
Ok, So where has he failed? As CEO helping build mozila and Java is awesome!

This is like feminism, PC madness. He has the right to believe whatever he wants and its what he wants. This is SO typical. I have met many feminists and gay people who insult men, insult straight people, Christians, anyone and everyone, but that's fine! Anyone step outa the PC line and you are squashed flat. ANTI-PC-POLICE

Yes LAGP were victimised but now being a white heterosexual MALE is the true victim! You guys honestly, for years you were persecuted, now you have become the persecutors, just because he holds different views to you. He can hold whatever views he wants and give to ant legal charity he wants.

Talk about hypocrites!

Shaun

 

 

 
anon7252469949
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anon7252469949,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/4/2014 | 1:31:37 PM
Really
I see this as just another example of the public not being able to separate professional conduct, thoughts and actions, from personal conduct, thoughts, and actions. This is the essence of free speech. It a sad statement of public intelligence that we still cannot separate the two. We as the public worry about children bullying other children and we set the example by bullying the co-founder of a company. And then we wonder why our children act this way.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
4/5/2014 | 11:55:53 AM
Re: Really
Well said, anon7252469949. Anyone not already in public service should be able to express their viewpoints respectfully. Those views should be treated with respect, even when we disagree. Just because he's a CEO doesn't mean he should be vilified for holding an opinion that others may not like.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
4/4/2014 | 2:18:01 PM
Speech
I wonder whether the outcome would have been any different if Eich had merely voiced an opinion rather than given money. The Supreme Court seems keen to equate money with speech as it applies to politics. But funding something is different than advocating it.
GreenT481
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GreenT481,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/4/2014 | 6:27:48 PM
LGBT Intolerance
Isn't it interesting that Mozilla's CEO was driven out of office by the group that demands the most tolerance for their views but gives the least in return? The LGBT community should be ashamed of themselves. They have been exposed as the true frauds that they are: selfish, self centered, intolerant bigots.
DobriB895
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DobriB895,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2014 | 5:32:59 AM
FiredFox...
FiredFox... or The Shame of Mozilla
http://dobrisratings.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=149836:the-shame-of-mozilla&catid=42&Itemid=111
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
4/5/2014 | 12:28:03 PM
'Tolerance' gang strikes again...
I suppose this falls under the category of protest, and then a company reacting to the protest, but I find it ironic given the 'tolerance' position so often advocated by the LGBT crowd. Of course, that's just empty rhetoric, as the acivists forwarding this cause are zero-tolerance folks; you either promote their cause or you pay.

But, I wish there were a bit more actual thought put into this, especially from the general public. I understand falling for this if you're a follower of the activists, but I'm saddened about the general public being so easily taken in by the empty rhetoric of this position. They fall for words like 'equality' and 'rights,' when simply put same-sex-marriage is simply bad public policy. Now one can't be against bad public policy without retaliation from the angry mobs. Sad state of affairs, folks.
rjones2818
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rjones2818,
User Rank: Strategist
4/5/2014 | 12:38:30 PM
Re: 'Tolerance' gang strikes again...
Actually, from a buisness point of view, Eich was hurting Mozilla's brand.  The market spoke, and he resigned (or was pushed), which is a free marketer's dream.  Don't worry, he probably was handed a big check to asuage his feelings.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
4/5/2014 | 12:44:54 PM
Re: 'Tolerance' gang strikes again...
No doubt, that's probably what happened. It's just sad that people's ability to think is so degraded that such a thing would generate that kind of negative market force. I mean, other CEOs have donated as much as 10 MILLION to LGBT causes, yet this guy donates $1000 to a pro-family political campaign, a number of years ago, and gets this kind of witch-hunt reaction.

It's one thing to even be pro-LGBT, but quite another to be for bad public policy. Prop 8 (and other movements like it) aren't hateful or anti-LGBT necessarily, but simply promoting good public policy. That ANYONE should be opposed to it is a bad sign for the country. While I understand the activists failure to think it through, I'm saddened that average person seems to be so swayed (I think it's over 50% of the population now!).
rjones2818
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rjones2818,
User Rank: Strategist
4/5/2014 | 2:03:34 PM
Re: 'Tolerance' gang strikes again...
Perception plays a big part in everything.  You call what Eich donated to a 'pro-family' campaign.  I don't see how that campaign was pro-family at all.  Should his donation have affected his standing at Mozilla?  The perception of Mozilla, even the for-profit arm, as being more inclusive would seem to point toward yes.  In a perfect world, it wouldn't.  But, then again, in a perfect world Eich wouldn't have made his campaign donation.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
4/5/2014 | 3:41:56 PM
Re: 'Tolerance' gang strikes again...
It was pro-family in the public policy sense. The best public policy (and the science and sociological studies confirm this) is where the maximum amount of children are raised by their biological parents. Therefore, any policy which promotes and supports that being the case would be good public policy. Anything that dilutes or discourages that, would be bad public policy. Granted, same-sex-marriage isn't the only problem, as no-fault-divorce already greatly damaged the instution of marriage. But, further damage isn't going to build a stronger society. Again, I'm talking public policy, not how two or more individuals choose to relate to each other. The State already permits same-sex-marriage, it just doesn't promote it, through licensing it.

And, if Mozilla were truly inclusive, it would also be inclusive of people who don't support same-sex-marriage. Doesn't anyone else find it a bit odd that an inclusivity policy's action is to exclude? If Eich had come into Mozilla, and started firing LGBT folks, or not hiring LGBT folks, that would be a different story. All he did was show he disagreed with this group. But, that's enough, I guess, for the thought-police to jump into action. You bow to the LBGT cause, or you pay the price. (Tolerance???)

In a perfect world, there would be no issue to deal with to begin with.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
4/5/2014 | 5:20:26 PM
Re: 'Tolerance' gang strikes again...
So your expectation is that someone actively supporting using the government to discrimination against gays would be neutral in a position where they have the power to do so in a corporation. How nieve can you be?
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
4/5/2014 | 6:48:40 PM
Re: 'Tolerance' gang strikes again...
There is no discrimination going on. He supports the government maintaining good public policy. That has nothing to do with his responsibilities as a CEO. What exactly do you think he was going to so with his CEO powers?
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
4/7/2014 | 11:21:21 AM
Re: 'Tolerance' gang strikes again...
Discrimination and unconstitutional acts against personal freedom has never been "good public policy".
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
4/7/2014 | 11:46:38 AM
Re: 'Tolerance' gang strikes again...
Please explain how it qualifies as discrimination and unconstitutional acts.
rjones2818
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rjones2818,
User Rank: Strategist
4/6/2014 | 1:29:39 PM
Re: 'Tolerance' gang strikes again...
The Status Quo has been smashed.  Some will look at that and blame whoever, in this case "the gay."  Others will celebrate.  The suits will try to find a solid spot to form a basis of a new status quo.  Enough people are not buying the 'pro-family' agenda any more (yay) and the suits have to take that into account.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
4/7/2014 | 11:48:28 AM
Re: 'Tolerance' gang strikes again...
It's pretty sad when people abandon sound thinking and the facts... but I agree with you as to the direction things are headed.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
4/5/2014 | 2:20:05 PM
Re: 'Tolerance' gang strikes again...
If the market can dictate what public policies people are allowed to advocate, then the market is way too powerful.

 
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
4/5/2014 | 2:16:01 PM
The worst part of this...
...is that it won't stop here.  Assuredly other pressure groups on both the left and the right are going to be scanning political contribution records for "enemy CEOs" they can raise a stink about so they'll be forced to resign.  And if you can take out a CEO, why not make an example of a mid-level executive?  Or an ordinary employee living paycheck to paycheck (the people in the worst position to fight back)?  Perhaps community activists can identify "evil oppressors" in their apartment complexes and sign up their neighbors to "petition" the landlord to evict them.  Or as long as plausible deniability can be maintained, why not arrange for baseball bats to be thrown through some front windows so the occupants of the vandalized homes have some incentive to keep their mouths shut?


Blacklisting is blacklisting.  Persecution is persecution.  Even when it's done by the Good Guys.

 
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
4/5/2014 | 6:54:48 PM
Re: The worst part of this...
I agree, it certainly wouldn't stop there, and it won't. The bullies have used enough rhetoric to sway the general populace to their side, so this kind of thing is just getting going.

That said, I'm not necessarily against public pressure being put on a company to get it to change something. I'm not sure I'd automatically call that blacklisting or persecution. I'm more commenting on the hipocricy of this situation (in a number of ways), and saddened that the general public can no longer reason and think critically. If they were, a few bullies wouldn't be able to scare a company into bellying up to their every whim.
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
4/5/2014 | 7:02:23 PM
Re: The worst part of this...
I think we can draw a line between what people do in the personal lives and what they do on the job.  I have no objections whatever to boycotting a commercial firm that people judge to be engaging in unethical behavior; but doing so because of the peacefui political activities of the people in charge (or their employees, for that matter) on their own time and with their own money smacks of machine politics, and completely undermines the concept of free debate and without free debate there is no democracy.

Rights aren't worth much if only the state has to respect them.

 
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
4/6/2014 | 1:33:11 PM
Re: The worst part of this...
Yea, I agree. Not that professional and private lives should be necessarily disconnected, but actual actions in one's professional life should be the measure. If he or Mozilla had done something discriminatory, then by all means, protest, get the resignation, etc. But, that wasn't the case here.
nfp_promoter
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nfp_promoter,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2014 | 5:15:12 PM
Brendan Eich Resigns
Sadly one can not support a cause that may be unpopular, but to paraphraise a once stated comment, I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it.  In today's culture it's more like I do not agree with what you say and I'll do my best to smear your reputation.  Sadly I may be boycotting Firefox and using Internet Explorer.
anon1568081987
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anon1568081987,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/7/2014 | 1:17:19 PM
All inclusive organization? NOT
I used the Firefox browser until the termination of CEO Brendan Eich over a 6-year old small personal donation for banning gay marriage in California. I suspect they will loose more (users) than gain because of this action. What happened to tolerance, freedom and respect for opinions? 
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
5/23/2014 | 3:07:35 AM
Re: The worst part of this...
No, interracial marriage is natural marriage. Race is simply skin pigmentation differences and other slightly different characteristics due to various environmental factors. You probably have a point about interspecies marriage though.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
5/23/2014 | 3:13:27 AM
Re: The worst part of this...
If only you understood biology 101...
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
5/23/2014 | 3:16:22 AM
Re: All inclusive organization? NOT
Your attempt at sarcasm might be funny if it weren't so incredibly ignorant. But, I don't typically expect much different coming from LGBT activists.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
5/23/2014 | 5:07:03 PM
Re: All inclusive organization? NOT
So, you're a Christian and you're opposed to interracial marriage? I'm not even sure where to begin with that. I assumed you were an LGBT activist just trying to be snarky and lumping all those things together.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
5/23/2014 | 5:12:42 PM
Re: The worst part of this...
Ok, so I'm totally with you on 1st Amendment rights, but I think we're in huge disagreement over some of our views then. No, I'm not a Darwinist, but I understand what the Bible tells us about humanity, as well as what science tells us about how organisms adapt to their environment. Race is an artificial label we use to classify various skin pigmentations and people who come from various geographical regions.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
5/23/2014 | 5:14:51 PM
Re: The worst part of this...
I'm totally for logic, reason, tolerance, respecting other's beliefs, etc.... but I'm also going to tell you when I think you're wrong.
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