Mozilla promotes Lilly from COO to CEO

COO John Lilly taking over from founding CEO Mitchell Baker, who will remain chairman of company behind the open-source Web browser.

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Mozilla's new CEO, John Lilly Mozilla

Mozilla Corp., the for-profit subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, has promoted Chief Operating Officer John Lilly to chief executive, the organization behind the Firefox Web browser and Thunderbird e-mail software said Monday.

Former CEO Mitchell Baker will remain chairman, the organization said, where she'll focus on high-level issues such as standards, interoperability, and issues around people's data.

"John Lilly is the right person to guide the product and organizational maturity of MoCo. John has been doing more and more of this since he took on the COO role in August of 2006. John understands Mozilla, is astonishingly good at operations, and has an innate facility for our products and technologies and the directions in which they should develop," Baker said on her blog on Monday. "Once I allowed myself to think about this, I realized that John will be a better CEO for the MoCo going forward than I would be."

Before Lilly joined Mozilla in 2005, he had been founder and CEO of Reactivity, a software company Cisco Systems acquired in 2007. On his blog, Lilly said his priorities will include shipping Firefox 3.0, currently in its second beta version; helping out with the new Mozilla mail company launch; and improving communications about Mozilla's economic situation and its hybrid for-profit/not-for-profit state.