Mozilla names Gary Kovacs as new CEO

From the “Who Is That?‘ files:

Browser vendor Mozilla has a new CEO with the appointment of Gary Kovacs.

Kovacs will takeover from outgoing CEO John Lilly in November.

Before today, I personally had never heard of Kovacs. Apparently he has work experience at Macromedia / Adobe, SAP and Sybase — companies that aren’t known for being open source in the same sense as Mozilla.

“He’s got deep background in the battlefields that will define the future
of the Open Web: mobile and rich media, and he’s been involved in
building great organizations several times over,” outgoing CEO John Lilly blogged.

Kovacs is also coming into Mozilla at a time of exceptional challenges both technical and financial. Firefox 4 is currently in development and should be completed by the end of the year.

The new browser already faces competition from Microsoft’s renewed browser focus in IE9 for Windows. Google’s Chrome effort is now spinning out new major releases every 12 weeks that continue to pick up speed and market share.

On top of that is the fact that (unless I’m mistaken), Mozilla still earns most of its money by way of a deal with Google – that is set to expire — sooner rather than later.

I personally would have thought that Mozilla would have turned to someone with experience in building open source businesses (like an ex-Red Hat person perhaps) as that’s where I see Mozilla’s challenge. Proprietary vendors like Adobe and SAP have very different models than Mozilla.

Technically and legally (with licensing), Mozilla’s leadership from Brendan Eich as CTO and Mitchell Baker as the chief lizard wrangler (or co-CEO perhaps?) remains intact, so I don’t think we’ll see any major shift.

That said, perhaps a new outsider perspective is precisely what Mozilla needs to move to the next stage of its development.

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