Mozilla has appointed Chris Beard as its interim chief executive, in the wake of the controversy surrounding the short-lived tenure of previous chief Brendan Eich.
Beard, who steps up from the role of chief marketing officer, will also join the browser organisation's board.
Mozilla's executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker played up Beard's history at Mozilla on announcing the news.
"Chris has been a Mozillian longer than most. He's been actively involved with Mozilla since before we shipped Firefox 1.0, he's guided and directed many of our innovative projects, and his vision and sense of Mozilla is equal to anyone's," she said.
"I have relied on his judgement and advice for nearly a decade. This is an excellent time for Chris to bring his understanding of Mozilla to the board."
Baker said the browser firm is now focused on finding a long-term CEO and new board members, in the wake of three board members resigning during Eich’s short reign.
Eich stepped down as chief executive of Mozilla on 3 April, less than two weeks after being appointed, in the wake of controversy over his attitude towards the gay community.
The move came in response to ongoing criticism over Eich's $1,000 donation to California's Proposition 8, a bill which aimed to ban same-sex marriage, back in 2008.
On announcing Eich's departure, Baker said: "Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn't live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it's because we haven't stayed true to ourselves.
"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. 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."
She added that Mozilla had not listened to or engaged with its employees and wider community over the situation.
"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," Baker noted.
Mozilla faced a lot of opposition to Eich's appointment, with many in the community refusing to develop apps for the organisation or asking their customers to avoid the browser.
Dating website OK Cupid posted a letter earlier this week asking its users to not visit via the Firefox browser, although it did then remove the post a few days later.
Hampton Catlin, the chief executive of app developer Rarebit and creator of Wikipedia mobile, also announced that the firm had chosen to boycott all Mozilla projects. "As a married gay couple, we will not develop apps or test styles on Firefox any more," Catlin wrote in a letter to Eich.
In an effort to appease developers, and Firefox staff and users, Mozilla posted a statement in late March claiming it supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
"Over the past few days we have been asked a number of questions about Brendan Eich's appointment as CEO. This post is to clarify Mozilla's official support of equality and inclusion for LGBT people," it said.
"Mozilla's mission is to make the web more open so that humanity is stronger, more inclusive and more just. This is why Mozilla supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples. No matter who you are or who you love, everyone deserves the same rights and to be treated equally."
Mozilla also lost three board members in the wake of the Eich appointment, but the organisation said the two events were not related.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, three Mozilla board members "resigned over the choice" of Eich as the new CEO. The three are Gary Kovacs, a former Mozilla CEO who runs security firm AVG Technologies, John Lilly, another former Mozilla CEO and now a partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners, and Ellen Siminoff, CEO of online education startup Shmoop.
But Mozilla said that these resignations were always on the cards. "The three board members ended their terms last week for a variety of reasons. Two had been planning to leave for some time, one since January and one explicitly at the end of the CEO search, regardless of the person selected," the firm said in a statement emailed to V3.
Eich responded to the backlash over his earlier support for Proposition 8, posting a detailed outline of his backing of the LGBT community last week. In a blog post headed 'Inclusiveness at Mozilla', Eich laid out all the ways in which he is a fan of the LGBT community and how he planned to see that its members were well looked after at Mozilla under his leadership. However, he did not go as far as saying he supported same-sex marriage, and had previously claimed he wanted to keep his personal views private rather than respond directly on the issue.
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