boutell: (shave)
[personal profile] boutell
OK, so, the Brendan Eich thing. You could be forgiven for thinking it's a slippery slope to ask an employee to leave because of their personal beliefs about a social issue. Because it is.

But a CEO is not a regular employee. A CEO is a very public cheerleader for your company. It's a PR position as much as anything. The phrase "appearance of impropriety" is relevant here. You can't claim your CEO's views are not those of the company. If not theirs, then whose?

OK, so maybe you wouldn't buy that either if we were talking about Domino's Pizza, or even Microsoft, because they are for-profit companies and it's their job to maximize the stock price, not change the world. But Mozilla is not a for-profit company. It's a nonprofit organization dedicated to "openness." And that "public cheerleader" thing goes double for the CEO of a nonprofit organization.

But let's go back to the for-profits for a moment, because there's another relevant factor: companies need to retain employees. Developers are social libertarians. People who want to get married will always care more about the issue than people who want to stop them from getting married. And all of Mozilla's major competitors are rock solid on same-sex marriage, even though, as for-profit companies, they could choose to ignore it.

So at the end of the day, making him CEO was bad business. It should never have happened. He should have stayed in the CIO role, which acknowledged his considerable professional worth, and not moved into the vastly more political role of CEO.

Date: 2014-04-06 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] princessleia2.livejournal.com
Just to be clear, Mozilla Corporation, of which he was appointed CEO of, is not a non-profit organization. It is a "wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation" which is a non-profit.

(I wouldn't defend Brendan Eich, but I do want to make sure the discussion is accurate)

Date: 2014-04-06 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] boutell.livejournal.com
I'm confused about that. Can a nonprofit own a for-profit? How does that work?

Date: 2014-04-06 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] princessleia2.livejournal.com
They can have susidiaries, this site helps explain: http://grantspace.org/Tools/Knowledge-Base/Individual-Grantseekers/For-Profit-Enterprises/Subsidiaries

Date: 2014-04-06 10:38 pm (UTC)
kodi: (melencolia)
From: [personal profile] kodi
Sure! Just like a non-profit can own land which it leases for a net profit. It's just that the profits that come in from such profitable enterprises can't leave the non-profit - they have to be either retained or spent on charitable aims.

It's really only the "wholly-owned" part that should be at all surprising - many educational non-profits have endowments that are invested in stocks, which means those non-profits are partial owners of for-profit entities.

Date: 2014-04-06 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ms-violet.livejournal.com
I have nothing exciting to add, but I wholeheartedly agree with you.

Date: 2014-04-06 10:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tfcocs.livejournal.com
Amen, amen, amen, Well put!

I call bullshit

Date: 2014-04-07 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eloquentwthrage.livejournal.com
After seeing so much about this and considering the factors involved, I'm left thinking the entire fiasco was some sort of publicity stunt. To what end? I've heard folks defending Mozilla's decision to make Eich their CEO and then boot him because they were ignorant of his political leaning and/or donation to a cause that wished to institute discrimination. I don't buy for a moment that no one knew about Eich, who was a founding member of the company. Wiki says it had come out in 2012 about his Prop8 donation; did they expect he was a changed person? Not believable, especially now that Mozilla has mad a show of saying they need to be free to attract the best and biggest talent without worrying whether or not their CEO is in tune with their Kumbaya/La-Di-Da philosophy. It was dog whistle, in fact, to practically drag those talents to the company, letting Mozilla then pick the best of the best.
Edited Date: 2014-04-07 06:16 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-04-08 02:35 am (UTC)
ext_8707: Taken in front of Carnegie Hall (dust)
From: [identity profile] ronebofh.livejournal.com
Note that he was CTO, not CIO.

CEO is a political position, both from an internal perspective with the employees, laterally in a sense with the board of directors, and also one of the public faces of the company. The board's choice of Eich was ill considered, especially given that the issue came to light two years ago, at which time Eich issued a dreadful non-apology. Even then, there were multiple opportunities to save this, to make this work for Mozilla. Instead, it was one bad move after another.

It certainly looks like Eich let his pride get in the way of making a good business decision. I don't think that the outcome was favorable for anyone involved with the company, including Firefox users. Maybe from an activist point of view, you could see the efforts as effective, but it would have been better if Eich had figured out a way to work with his opponents.

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