Mozilla names Gary Kovacs new CEO

mozilla-gary-kovacs-ceoMozilla’s hunt for a new CEO is over. Since May, Mozilla has been searching for a new CEO to replace outgoing leader John Lilly, who is joining Greylock Partners to work with startup companies. In a blog post today, the public benefit organization named Gary Kovacs its new CEO. He’ll take over on November 8.

Kovacs has worked as a senior VP of Markets, Solutions & Products at Sybase and has held notable positions at Macromedia and later Adobe, after it acquired the company. Much of his experience is in the mobile field, which should help Mozilla, a company that has struggled to launch mobile products in recent years. He also spent 10 years working at IBM in a myriad of leadership positions.

In a statement on his blog, Mozilla Chairman Mitchell Baker explained the hiring of Kovacs into the organization: “He melds the fundamentals of a good executive with a powerful understanding that Mozilla’s non-profit, public benefit mission drives everything we do, including those activities which might look like ‘business as usual’ to a casual observer. Gary brings a deep understanding of the mobile space and rich media from his time at Macromedia / Adobe and Sybase. Both of these areas are critical to the future of the Web. He’s also been deeply involved with building broad platforms, also highly important to Mozilla.”

John Lilly also commented on the leadership transition with praise for the new CEO.

Kovacs has a tough job ahead of him. Mozilla’s biggest product, Firefox, has been struggling to keep up with rivals Internet Explorer, Opera, and Google Chrome in security and innovation. While once known as the most lean and secure browser, its reputation in recent years has lagged. The successful launch of Firefox 4 among computing and mobile platforms will be Kovac’s first big responsibility. You can watch Kovac’s acceptance speech here.

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