Mozilla knocks off 'interim' label, names Chris Beard CEO

'No one we met was a better fit,' says chairwoman Mitchell Baker

Mozilla today announced that it had ditched the "interim" label for Chris Beard and appointed him CEO.

The announcement came about three months after the open-source developer of Firefox and Firefox OS tapped Beard as its temporary leader when former CEO Brendan Eich resigned.

Chris Beard
Mozilla named Chris Beard, who has been serving as interim CEO since April, as its chief executive today. (Image: Mozilla.)

Eich, the creator of JavaScript and one of the co-founders of Mozilla, lasted just 10 days on the job. He stepped down as controversy over his 2008 contribution to a group fighting same-sex marriage in California spiraled out of control.

"The Mozilla board has reviewed many internal and external candidates -- and no one we met was a better fit," said Mitchell Baker, Mozilla chairwoman, on the Mozilla blog today.

Before he returned to Mozilla in mid-April to take the interim CEO spot, Beard had been an executive in residence at Greylock Partners, a Menlo Park, Calif. venture capitalist firm. He left Mozilla in June 2013 after serving as its chief marketing officer for three years, and in other positions since 2004.

"Chris has a keen sense of where Mozilla has been -- and where we're headed," Baker said. "He has unique experience connecting with every constituency that touches our products, including consumers, partners and community members. There's simply no better person to lead Mozilla."

Previous to Mozilla, Beard consulted at Hewlett-Packard in marketing, and co-founded the Puffin Group, a firm that ported Linux to the PA-RISC architecture, an HP line of processors that was superseded by Itanium.

As Baker touted the milestones met during Beard's time as interim CEO -- including "a complete redesign" of the Firefox desktop browser and an announcement of new partners for the company's Firefox OS mobile operating system -- she naturally passed on the bad news.

Firefox's user share on all platforms -- desktop and mobile -- plunged in May and June as its desktop browser continued to bleed share and Firefox OS failed to make up more than a very small amount of the losses.

The falling user share has come at a bad time: Mozilla's contract with Google comes up for renewal this fall. Under the agreement, Google's search engine is assigned as the default for most Firefox customers. Most of Mozilla's revenue stems from the Google deal. In 2012, the last year for which financial data was available, Google paid Mozilla an estimated $272 million, or 88% of all Mozilla income.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is

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