Mozilla Hires New CEO

Gary Kovacs, a former Sybase and Adobe executive, will become Mozilla's CEO as the company completes its transition from former CEO John Lilly.

Mozilla has named Gary Kovacs, a former executive at Sybase and Adobe, as its new CEO.

In an Oct. 14 blog post, Mitchell Baker, chair of Mozilla, said Kovacs brings the right blend of skills to the job and complimented the search team for finding him for the role, particularly as Mozilla looks ahead to a full-fledged move into the mobile space. Kovacs will take the helm on Nov. 8.

In her post, Baker said:

""A number of people were involved in the search process. We talked to a lot of people, and Gary stands out for the way he bridges these skill sets. 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. Gary also brings a focus on a collaborative work style and the centrality of empowering others. At Mozilla we often speak of "poetry and pragmatics" as fundamental to the nature of Mozilla, and Gary understands both these are critical for Mozilla to thrive.""

In a brief video introducing himself to the Mozilla community, Kovacs said he views the priorities of the company as "to deliver Firefox 4, not only on the desktop but for the first time on mobile."

John Lilly, who in May announced he would be leaving his post as Mozilla's CEO to become a partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners, gave three reasons why he thinks Kovacs is a "special person" for the Mozilla CEO role in an Oct. 14 blog post:

-"He's a veteran of the Web and rich media-he's been at the center of several cycles at Macromedia/Adobe and recently Sybase/SAP-He's got a deep background in mobile over the last 5 years or so-that's an incredibly important area where we've got a lot to prove in the coming years-He's been involved in changing big organizations, and with those organizations changing the bigger landscape-Macromedia, Adobe & Sybase."

"So 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," Lilly added.

Mozilla's post introducing Kovacs said:

""Prior to joining Mozilla, Gary held senior leadership roles as Senior VP of Markets, Solutions & Products at Sybase (through its acquisition by SAP earlier this year), as General Manager and VP of Mobile & Devices at Adobe and as VP of Product Marketing at Macromedia (through its acquisition by Adobe).Previously, he led the successful creation and growth of Zi Corporation, a company specializing in embedded software and services for mobile and consumer devices.Prior to Zi Corporation, Gary spent 10 years at IBM in leadership positions in product management, sales, marketing and operations within the IBM software division.""