Mozilla has issued a public statement in a bid to hose down speculation its former chief executive, Brendan Eich, was either fired or pushed out of the company by its board of directors.
Late last week, Mozilla chairwoman and co-founder Mitchell Baker announced Eich was standing down as chief executive after just weeks in the role
The resignation came after it emerged Eich had reportedly donated $1000 in 2008 to a campaign in support of Proposition 8, a piece of legislation outlawing same-sex marriage in California. While a vote on the law was successful, it was eventually defeated in the Supreme Court.
News of the donation prompted calls from LGBT rights activists to boycott Mozilla, which is best known for Firefox web browser software and low-cost Firefox OS smartphones.
In a statement, Mozilla states Eich was not forced out of his role by the board, which had attempted to keep him on in some capacity.
“Board members and senior executives tried to get Brendan to stay at Mozilla in another role or to stay actively involved with Mozilla as a volunteer contributor. Brendan decided that it was better for himself and for Mozilla to sever all ties, at least for now.”
In the statement, Mozilla also hoses down speculation about a widespread staff revolt over Eich’s views on same-sex marriage, claiming public criticisms from staff, including Mozilla’s head of education, were an exception rather than the norm.
“While these tweets calling for Brendan’s resignation were widely reported in the media, they came from only a tiny number of people: Less than 10 of Mozilla’s employee pool of 1000. None of the employees in question were in Brendan’s reporting chain or knew Brendan personally.
“In contrast, support for Brendan’s leadership was expressed from a much larger group of employees, including those who felt disappointed by Brendan’s support of Proposition 8 but nonetheless felt he would be a good leader for Mozilla.”
The statement also says the resignation of key directors at the time of Eich’s appointment was not directly connected to his appointment, contrary to some speculation.
“Gary Kovacs and Ellen Siminoff had previously stated they had plans to leave as soon as Mozilla chose the next CEO. John Lilly did not resign over Proposition 8 or any concerns about Brendan’s personal beliefs.
For his part, Eich issued a statement clarifying his reasons for resigning from Mozilla.
“I’ve resigned as CEO and I’m leaving Mozilla to take a rest, take some trips with my family, look at problems from other angles, and see if the ‘network problem’ has a solution that doesn’t require scaling up to hundreds of millions of users and winning their trust while somehow covering costs.
“I encourage all Mozillians to keep going. Firefox OS is even more daunting and more important. Thanks indeed to all who have supported me and to all my colleagues over the years, at Mozilla, in standards bodies, and at conferences around the world.”