Chris Beard, who has been acting CEO of Mozilla on an interim basis since the departure of Brendan Eich in April, has been appointed to the role on a permanent basis.
The news of this appointment came in a blog post from Mozilla chairwoman, Mitchell Baker who wrote:
I am pleased to announce that Chris Beard has been appointed CEO of Mozilla Corp. The Mozilla board has reviewed many internal and external candidates – and no one we met was a better fit.
Although Chris Beard only joined Mozilla's Board of Directors in April this year, he has a longer history with the organization, having first joined it in 2004, shortly before Firefox 1.0 shipped, and over the years has been involved in marketing, innovation, communications, community and user engagement.
Beard had stepped in as CEO when Brendan Eich was forced to resign this position after less than a fortnight in the post because of his opposition to gay marriage rather than any other doubts about his suitability to lead Mozilla.
Beard has an MBA in International Business from the University of Edinburgh and hopefully this will help him in what must be seen as a challenging role.
As we reported earlier this month Firefox has been losing market share and this puts it in a very vulnerable position. Mozilla relies for its income on Google and needs to be able to demonstrate that its portfolio of projects, of which Firefox is the flagship, are worth supporting. In theory Google pays Mozilla for the position of default search engine, but with Google's own Chrome browser overtaking Firefox this seems a less urgent requirement. In addition Mozilla has branched out into areas that compete with Google head on - Firefox OS, for example, is an alternative to Android. It must be difficult for Google to see the money it supplies Mozilla with being used to create direct competition.
Mozilla's current contract with Google expires in November so, as the new CEO, Beard will be spending the next few months orchestrating some crucial and possibly tricky negotiations.