Brendan Eich, official Mozilla Foundation photograph, August 21, 2012
|Born||July 4, 1961|
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign|
Santa Clara University
Eich grew up in Pittsburgh; Gaithersburg, Maryland; and Palo Alto, and he attended Ellwood P. Cubberley High School, graduating in the class of 1979. He received his bachelor's degree in mathematics and computer science at Santa Clara University, and he received his master's degree in 1985 from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.
He began his career at Silicon Graphics, working for seven years on operating system and network code. He then worked for three years at MicroUnity Systems Engineering writing microkernel and DSP code.
In early 1998, Eich co-founded the free and open source software project Mozilla with Jamie Zawinski and others, creating the mozilla.org website, which was meant to manage open-source contributions to the Netscape source code. He served as Mozilla's chief architect. AOL bought Netscape in 1999. After AOL shut down the Netscape browser unit in July 2003, Eich helped spin out the Mozilla Foundation.
Appointment to CEO, controversy and resignation
On March 24, 2014, Mozilla made the decision to appoint Eich as CEO of Mozilla Corporation. The appointment triggered widespread criticism due to Eich's past political donations – specifically, a 2008 donation of $1,000 to California Proposition 8, which called for the banning of same-sex marriage in California, and donations in the amount of $2,100 to Proposition 8 supporter Tom McClintock between 2008 and 2010. The Wall Street Journal initially reported that, in protest against his coming appointment, half of Mozilla's board (Gary Kovacs, John Lilly, and Ellen Siminoff) stepped down, leaving Mitchell Baker, Reid Hoffman, and Katharina Borchert. CNET later reported that of the three board members who had left, only Lilly left due to Eich's appointment. Lilly told The New York Times, "I left rather than appoint him", and declined to elaborate further.
On March 26, 2014, Eich expressed "sorrow for causing pain" and pledged to "work with LGBT communities and allies" at Mozilla. Some of the activists created an online campaign against Eich, with online dating site OkCupid automatically displaying a message to Firefox users with information about Eich's donation, and suggesting that users switch to a different browser (although giving them a link to continue with Firefox). CREDO Mobile collected more than 50,000 signatures demanding that Eich resign.
After 11 days as CEO, Eich resigned on April 3, 2014, and left Mozilla over his opposition to same-sex marriage. In his personal blog, he posted, "under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader". Mozilla made a press release saying that board members tried to get Eich to stay in the company in a different role, but that he had chosen to sever ties for the time being.
Eich is the CEO of Brave Software, an Internet browser platform company that raised $2.5 million in early funding from angel investors. In January 2016, the company released developer versions of its open-source, Chromium-based Brave web browser, which blocks ads and trackers.
In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Eich ardently denied the effectiveness of face masks and lockdowns in combating the transmission of COVID-19 and stated of the United States' top immunologist: "[Anthony] Fauci lies a lot", sparking calls for his removal from Brave on social media.
- Watts, Joseph (April 4, 2014). "Mozilla boss Brendan Eich quits in row over his opposition to gay". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on December 29, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- Kim, Susanna (April 3, 2014). "Mozilla CEO Resigns After Calif. Gay Marriage Ban Campaign Donation". ABC News. Archived from the original on May 29, 2020.
- Lohr, Steve (September 9, 1996). "Part Artist, Part Hacker And Full-Time Programmer". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 15, 2018. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
- Swisher, Kara (April 3, 2014). "Mozilla Co-Founder Brendan Eich Resigns as CEO, Leaves Foundation Board". Recode. Archived from the original on September 16, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
- Shankland, Stephen (November 17, 2015). "Mystery startup from ex-Mozilla CEO aims to go where tech titans won't". CNET. Archived from the original on January 25, 2018.
- Seibel, Peter (2009). "Brendan Eich". Coders at Work: Reflections on the Craft of Programming. Apress. pp. 132–. ISBN 978-1430219484. LCCN 2011414796. Retrieved April 4, 2014.
- "Mozilla Foundation Forms New Organization to Further the Creation of Free, Open Source Internet Software, Including the Award-Winning Mozilla Firefox Browser" (Press release). Mozilla Foundation. August 3, 2005. Archived from the original on May 13, 2010. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
Brendan Eich, a co-founder and long-time technical leader of the Mozilla project, will become the chief technical officer of the Mozilla Corporation.
- Machkovech, Sam (March 27, 2014). "Mozilla employees tell Brendan Eich he needs to "step down"". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on April 28, 2020. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
"I love @mozilla but I'm disappointed this week," McAvoy said, referring to the controversial decision to appoint Eich as CEO after he had donated thousands to both California's Proposition 8 and political candidates who supported it.
- Otto, Greg (April 1, 2014). "Mozilla continues to take heat over CEO appointment". Washington Business Journal. Archived from the original on April 5, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
The donation, made when Eich was Mozilla's chief technical officer and public knowledge since 2012, reignited when Eich was appointed CEO on March 24.
- Barr, Alistair (April 4, 2014). "Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Steps Down". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on July 21, 2018. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- Fiegerman, Seth (April 14, 2014). "Mozilla Names Former CMO as Interim CEO". Mashable. Archived from the original on December 11, 2018. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
The appointment comes a week and a half after Brendan Eich stepped down as CEO amid widespread criticism of a donation he made in 2008 to Proposition 8, an initiative that aimed to ban same-sex marriage in California.
- Lynch, Shana (April 14, 2014). "Mozilla names Chris Beard as interim CEO". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Archived from the original on May 29, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
Eich, Mozilla’s former CTO, was head of the organization for less than two weeks before widespread criticism over his support of Proposition 8, the California bill that banned gay marriage, forced him to resign.
- Machkovech, Sam (April 3, 2014). "The Employees Have Spoken: Mozilla's CEO Steps Down". Inc. Archived from the original on March 10, 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
Numerous Mozilla employees took to Twitter and other social media outlets to voice their disapproval.
- Machkovech, Sam (March 26, 2014). "New Mozilla CEO issues statement, expresses "sorrow for causing pain"". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on February 27, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- Barr, Alistair (March 28, 2014). "Three Mozilla Board Members Resign over Choice of New CEO". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on October 7, 2018. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- Lowensohn, Josh (March 28, 2014). "Half of Mozilla's board reportedly resign over new CEO choice". The Verge. Archived from the original on November 14, 2019.
- Machkovech, Sam (March 28, 2014). "Three Mozilla board members—including former CEOs—step down [Updated]". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on May 23, 2020.
- Shankland, Stephen (March 28, 2014). "Objecting to new CEO, resignations sweep Mozilla board: Report". CNET. Archived from the original on October 31, 2018. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- Shankland, Stephen (June 13, 2014). "Mozilla under fire: Inside the 9-day reign of fallen CEO Brendan Eich". CNET. Archived from the original on August 5, 2017. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
- Hardy, Quentin; Bilton, Nick (April 4, 2014). "Personality and Change Inflamed Mozilla Crisis". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 10, 2019. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
Mr. Lilly, now a venture capitalist with Greylock Partners, resigned from the Mozilla board two weeks ago, ahead of Mr. Eich’s appointment. “I left rather than appoint him,” he said, declining to elaborate further.
- Netburn, Deborah (April 4, 2012). "Brendan Eich's Prop. 8 contribution gets Twittersphere buzzing". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 29, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2012.
- Johnston, Ian (April 1, 2014). "OkCupid calls for Firefox boycott to protest anti-gay marriage CEO Brendan Eich". The Independent. Archived from the original on January 12, 2017. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
- Byrdum, Sunnivie (March 26, 2014). "OkCupid calls for Firefox boycott to protest anti-gay marriage CEO Brendan Eich". The Advocate. Archived from the original on November 30, 2019.
- Nyquist, J. Paul (2017). Is Justice Possible?: The Elusive Pursuit of What is Right. Moody Publishers. ISBN 978-0802495105. LCCN 2016045871. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
- Newton, Casey (April 3, 2014). "Outfoxed: how protests forced Mozilla's CEO to resign in 11 days". The Verge. Archived from the original on February 27, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- Lee, Dave (April 4, 2014). "Mozilla boss quits following gay row". BBC News. Archived from the original on May 26, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- Baker, Mitchell (April 3, 2014). "Brendan Eich steps down as Mozilla CEO". The Mozilla Blog. Mozilla Foundation. Archived from the original on February 20, 2020. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
- McAllister, Neil (April 8, 2014). "Gay marriage foes outraged at Mozilla CEO flap, call for boycott". The Register. Archived from the original on February 11, 2017. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
In fact, Board members tried to get Brendan to stay at Mozilla in another role," the group stated in an FAQ posted on Saturday. "Brendan decided that it was better for himself and for Mozilla to sever all ties, at least for now.
- Protalinski, Emil (November 13, 2019). "Ad-blocking browser Brave launches out of beta". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on May 15, 2020. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- Dent, Steve (July 1, 2019). "Brave web browser is really fast at blocking ads". Engadget. Archived from the original on May 29, 2020. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- Keizer, Gregg (July 24, 2018). "The Brave browser basics – what it does, how it differs from rivals". Computerworld. Archived from the original on May 16, 2020. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
Brave also eliminates all ad trackers, the often-tiny page components advertisers and site publishers deploy to identify users so that they know what other sites those users visit or have visited.
- Russell, Jon (June 1, 2017). "Former Mozilla CEO raises $35M in under 30 seconds for his browser startup Brave". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on June 1, 2017. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
- Popper, Nathaniel (December 22, 2020). "Covid comments get a tech C.E.O. in hot water, again". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 29, 2020. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
- Alper, Tim (December 23, 2020). "Brave Browser Chief Courts Social Media Rage with COVID-19 Comments". Cryptonews. Archived from the original on December 23, 2020. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
- Eich, Brendan [@BrendanEich] (January 15, 2021). "WHO against lockdowns, always was. CDC was too. The issue is not purely "SCIENCE" in any reductive lab or (especially; often abused for fraud/evil) *model* sense; it requires risk analysis including economics, and ultimately political decision-making. twitter.com/BrendanEich/status/1262089253237821440?s=20 /fin" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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| CEO of Mozilla Corporation
March 24, 2014 – April 3, 2014