Mozilla Names SAP Exec Gary Kovacs As New CEO

Earlier this year Mozilla Corporation, the company behind the Firefox web browser, announced that CEO John Lilly would be stepping down to take a position at VC firm Greylock Partners. The search for a new CEO took six months, and today the company is naming Lilly’s successor: Gary Kovacs, a tech veteran who currently serves as a Senior Vice President at SAP and has previously held executive positions at Sybase (which SAP acquired earlier this year) and Macromedia/Adobe.

Lilly has written a welcome post announcing the news, in which he says that Kovacs is right for the job because “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.”

Mitchell Baker, Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, has also written a welcome post that points out Kovacs’s experience with mobile and rich media. Here’s a portion of Baker’s post:

When we entered into sensitive areas I found it possible to raise potentially contentious issues, find some common ground, get to the heart of the matter and push some hard topics around until we both felt we’d reached a good place. I found Gary to have a great understanding of the different perspectives of the situation, an ability to be clear where we already had agreement, and a give-and-take process when we had disagreements that I think is fundamental for someone to be effective at Mozilla. Actually, I found Gary to focus a bit more on areas of agreement before diving to the heart of potential differences than is common at Mozilla — a trait I hope to learn from :)