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Mozilla CEO Kovacs On the Way Out

Gary KovacksFrom the 'Too Busy for Open Source' files:

Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs is leaving Mozilla. Kovacs became the CEO in October of 2010. I personally will not be among those that are sad to see him go.

You see in his entire tenure, I never spoke with him. Not once.

As opposed to other Mozilla leaders that I've known over the 15 year history of the open source effort, Kovacs was a business guy first and foremost. He was brought in cause of his mobile experience and had previous worked at Macromedia / Adobe, SAP and Sybase.

Though I've never managed to get Kovacs to talk to me, he does talk to business media. In an interview with AllThingsDhe said of his move out from Mozilla that," ..I wanted to move back to something more commercial."

Mozilla has moved a lot in the last two years. Under Kovacs direction (I hesitate to use the word leadership cause I've always seen Mitchell Baker and Brendan Eich as Mozilla's leaders), the open source effort has taken a bold step into the mobile space with FirefoxOS.

"Gary’s leadership has been hugely important in helping Mozilla develop deep mobile outlook and capabilities," Mozilla chief lizard wrangler Mitchell Baker said in a statement. "I want to thank Gary for all the contributions that he has made to the project during this period of our evolution."

With Kovac's exit, Baker expands her role to become the Executive Chair of Mozilla while a search starts for a new CEO.

Here's my suggestion for Mozilla - hire someone that loves open source and understands its commercial potential. Poach someone from Red Hat or a group that understand the community first model and isn't just itching for something 'more commercial.'

Mozilla is great because it is community driven and it is open source. The fact that it can fuel a commercial effort like FirefoxOS is interesting, but I just hope that with new leadership coming it will remain focussed on the promise that it has continued to deliver on for the past 15 years.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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