Mozilla names Gary Kovacs new CEO

The company behind Firefox taps Kovacs, who has worked for Sybase, Adobe, and IBM, to become its chief executive as it faces pressure from Microsoft's IE9 and Google's Chrome.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Gary Kovacs, Mozilla's new CEO. Mozilla

Mozilla has found itself a new CEO as it gets ready for the browser battles of tomorrow.

On November 8, Gary Kovacs, who had been serving as a senior vice president at Sybase, will take over Mozilla as its chief executive. He'll be responsible for "leading the overall direction of the organization and its products, including the Firefox Web browser," Mozilla said in a blog post announcing the appointment.

Kovacs has a "deep background in the battlefields that will define the future open Web: mobile and rich media," Mozilla's outgoing chief executive, John Lilly, said in a separate blog post.

It will be Kovacs' job to maintain Firefox's position as it gets squeezed by heavyweight competitors.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer is still commanding the browser space with 59.7 percent market share, according to Net Applications. And the latest version, IE9, which is just out in beta, is seen as giving Microsoft a fighting chance to make up for missteps. Meanwhile, Google Chrome, which currently controls 8 percent of the browser market, is quickly gaining ground on Firefox, which has 23 percent.

The next big iteration of Mozilla's browser, Firefox 4, is due out by the end of the year.

Kovacs has an impressive resume. Besides working for Sybase, he was once general manager and vice president of mobile and devices at Adobe Systems, as well as vice president of product marketing at Macromedia. He also worked at IBM for 10 years in the company's global software division.

"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," Mozilla Chairman Mitchell Baker said in a blog post today.

Mozilla has been searching for a new CEO for quite some time.

In May, Mozilla Chairman Mitchell Baker announced that Lilly would be stepping down this year. Lilly is expected to stay on as a member of Mozilla's board, after Kovacs takes over.

Mozilla will be holding "a series of events around the world," starting in November, so the organization's stakeholders can talk with the new CEO.