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Mozilla Appoints CMO Chris Beard As Interim CEO

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (UPI) — Mozilla appointed Chris Beard to the board of directors and as its new acting CEO, following the controversy surrounding the the ouster of Brendan Eich.

Beard has been at Mozilla for years and has been involved in multiple roles, including overseeing products, innovation and most recently as the chief marketing officer. He was involved in the launch of two of Mozilla’s feature products — Firefox for Android and the Firefox OS mobile operating system.

“In this time of transition there is no better person to lead us. 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,” Mozilla Chairwoman Mitchell Baker said in a blog post.

Baker says that Beard was one of the strong candidates for CEO and that “there is no better person to lead” the company through the crisis it is facing.

Beard has also worked as an executive-in-residence at Greylock Parners, where two other Mozilla board members were employed — Reid Hoffman and former Mozilla CEO and board member John Lilly.

Beard’s appointment along with Mozilla’s announcement of a formal search for a new CEO, suggests the company is in a hurry to leave behind a difficult chapter. Mozilla’s public image took a beating after it appointed Brendan Eich as CEO, only to have him leave the position after public anger boiled over regarding his $1,000 donation in 2008 to an anti-gay marriage cause in California.

Acknowledging that the Eich fiasco was partially the responsibility of the board as well, Mozilla said it was working on adding more members.

“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,” Baker said. “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.”

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