Mozilla CEO John Lilly confirmed today via an e-mail to employees that he is stepping down from his position.
Lilly moved into the CEO role from his position of COO in January of 2008, and during his tenure, Mozilla has continued to gain on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for marketshare. (A recent study indicated Mozilla’s got an impressive near 25% to IE’s near 60% piece of the pie.) He did not announce a definitive timeline for the departure, but said he was moving to venture capital firm Greylock Partners, citing a strong match of ideals. Lilly confirmed that he will remain in place until the company finds a suitable replacement, and that he will stay on the Board of Directors at Mozilla.
On his blog, Lilly posted the e-mail he sent out today about his impending departure from Mozilla:
As my five year anniversary at Mozilla approaches, I’ve decided that it’s time for me to move on to my next role sometime later this year. This won’t happen today or tomorrow — I expect to be here and working for several months yet, and I’m planning to stay on the Board of Directors.
This is a tough note for me to write — I feel so incredibly lucky and humbled to have worked on such an amazing project, with such spectacular people, for the last few years.
But I’ve always been a startup guy at heart — Mozilla was originally going to be a quick volunteer effort for me, but quickly turned into a full time job, and at the beginning of 2008 turned into the CEO job that I have now. I’ve really been missing working with startups, and want to learn how to invest in and build great new startups, so am planning to join Greylock Partners as a Venture Partner once we transition here.
I’m in no rush, and the most important thing to me is to build the strongest Mozilla we can, with the best leadership possible. So my plan is to stay through that transition — we’re starting a CEO search now, and plan to do it in as transparent a way as possible — which means I’ll continue in my CEO role as normal for several more months, at least.
I’ll have more to say on the transition as we figure things out more clearly, but for now, business as usual. We’ve got Firefox 4 to ship, and Firefox on multiple mobile platforms. We’ve got our web services like Weave to stand up and make available to millions of users.
For now, though, I really want to communicate a deep gratitude to each of you — over the past few years we’ve done an amazing amount together, and changed the world in so many meaningful ways. 400 million users are directly touched every day by the work we’ve done so far, and many, many more are using better browsers because of our work. There are many more contributions and victories to come.