Brendan Eich steps down as Mozilla’s CEO over anti-gay marriage donations

4 Apr 2014

Brendan Eich, former CEO of Mozilla Firefox

After significant pressure from both employees and the general public, newly appointed Mozilla Firefox CEO Brendan Eich has resigned from his position over his donations toward anti-gay marriage laws.

The storm clouds around Mozilla had been forming within hours of the former CTO’s appointment after a number of gay employees announced they would refuse to work under his leadership over his decision to donate thousands of dollars towards Prop 8, a bill that would ban gay marriage in California.

Now it seems the Mozilla board has had enough. Last night, the board members published a post on their official blog announcing Eich’s decision to accept resignation and step down.

Written by Mozilla’s executive chairwoman, Mitchell Baker, the post indicates the decision was more by ‘mutual consent’.

“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,” Baker wrote. “We’re sorry. We must do better. Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.”

The post later went on to commend the general public for its choice to speak frankly and openly on the subject and Mozilla will look to put this openness back into its company.

“While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better. We need to put our focus back on protecting that web. And doing so in a way that will make you proud to support Mozilla.”

Despite Eich’s own comments that he would continue Mozilla’s diversity and fairness commitments, his position appeared untenable, particularly for the last week, as a number of organisations spoke out against his appointment.

The dating website OkCupid was one example highlighted after it decided to encourage Mozilla users to switch to a different browser from Firefox when using the site as a mark of respect to the LGBT community and in protest.

Mozilla said it will make an announcement on who will replace Eich sometime next week.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic