Categories: Press Releases

Mozilla appoints John Lilly as Chief Executive Officer

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. – January 7, 2008 – Mozilla Corporation today announced the appointment of current chief operating officer John Lilly as its CEO, effective immediately. Concurrent with the appointment of Lilly, Mozilla also announced that Mitchell Baker, Mozilla’s current CEO, would continue as Chairman and a full-time executive of the corporation.

“John Lilly is the right person to guide the maturation of Mozilla,” said Mitchell Baker, Chairman of Mozilla Corporation. “John has been instrumental in developing an organization that is both embedded in Mozilla and open-source DNA and that can function at the extremely high degree of effectiveness that our setting requires.”

As CEO, John will focus on the product, technology and execution of the Mozilla Corporation. Mitchell will focus on bringing Mozilla goals and mindshare to affect change in related aspects of Internet development, such as standards and interoperability, treatment of data, and use of market mechanisms to support public benefit organizations.

“I’m honored and excited to help Mozilla advance its mission of a participatory Web around the world. The Web is the single most important innovation of our lifetimes – it affects everything,” said Lilly. “With thousands of open source contributors, more than 125 million users, and countless organizations who rely on Mozilla’s community and technology, we’re in rarefied territory.”

“I’ve worked with both Mitchell and John for a number of years now, and I strongly support these moves at Mozilla, which should allow the organization to do more things than ever before and to do them well,” said Mitch Kapor, board member and former chairman, Mozilla Foundation.

Background on John Lilly

John Lilly joined Mozilla Corporation in 2005 as Vice President of Business Development, and, since 2006, has served as COO and a member of the Board of Directors. Prior to this, Lilly was the founder, CEO, CTO and VP of products for Reactivity, a software company acquired by Cisco Systems in 2007. Previously, he held staff positions at Apple, Sun Microsystems and Trilogy Software. Lilly has been an active participant in open source projects, serving on the boards of the Open Source Applications Foundation and Participatory Culture Foundation. He earned a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in computer science from Stanford University.

For more information, please see the following blog posts from Mitchell Baker and John Lilly:

About Mozilla

Mozilla is a global community dedicated to building free, open source products and technologies that improve the online experience for people everywhere. We work in the open with a highly disciplined, transparent and cooperative development process, under the umbrella of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation. As a wholly owned subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation organizes the development and marketing of Mozilla products. This unique structure has enabled Mozilla to financially support and cultivate competitive, viable community innovation. For more information, visit


Why is John taking over the role of CEO?

The Mozilla Corporation’s role and effect on the industry is increasing and requires different focus and execution and John’s the right person to provide this. Mitchell will be actively engaged and will focus on increasing Mozilla’s voice in several initiatives that impact the broader Internet.
Why now?
We now have the stability, with the success we’ve had with our products, to make this change. We also have the opportunity to launch new initiatives and broaden the scope of Mozilla.
Did you conduct a formal search for a new CEO?
No, it’s a highly specialized job that requires a set of skills and fundamental alignment with Mozilla’s values. The CEO needs to balance economic growth and mission-driven goals for Mozilla.
Why John?
John’s been a CEO before and he has exactly the right set of skills and expertise for the job. John has increasingly been tackling more CEO-level responsibilities since he took on the COO role in August of 2006.
What is Mitchell’s new role in the company? Will she remain a full-time employee?
As Chairman of Mozilla Corporation, Mitchell will continue to use Mozilla’s impact in the market to make openness, collaboration and user control central in other products, services and aspects of online life.  She will remain a full-time employee.
How will day-to-day operations change?
Not much will change in day-to-day operations. This is formalizing a relationship that exists already. Virtually no reporting relationships will change.
When is John’s position as CEO effective?
This is effective immediately.
Is John becoming CEO of both the Mozilla Corp and the Mozilla Foundation?
John is CEO of the Mozilla Corporation. The corporation is an important part of meeting the foundation’s mission. He is not taking on a role with the Foundation. This won’t change relationships with other leaders in Mozilla.
What is John’s background?
John’s served on the boards of the Open Source Applications Foundation and Participatory Culture Foundation. Since 2005, he has served as Chief Operating Officer and been a member of the Board of Directors for Mozilla Corporation. Prior to this, he was the founder, CEO, CTO and VP of products for Reactivity, an XML Security Company that was ultimately acquired by Cisco. He earned a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in computer science from Stanford University.
Will you be looking for a replacement for the COO position?
Not at this time. However, we’re always looking for people to build the Mozilla vision and we continue to hire at all levels.
How long was Mitchell CEO of Mozilla?
Mitchell has served as Mozilla’s Chief Lizard Wrangler since its founding in 1999. She became Mozilla’s formal CEO in 2005.