Editor at LinkedIn
Mozilla CEO Ousted on Gay Rights Issue & 3 More Stories You Can’t Miss Today
WINDS OF CHANGE – A corporate governance story that never would have occurred even a handful of years ago unfolded this week. Mozilla Corporation CEO Brendan Eich resigned just 10 days after his nomination following outcry from gay-rights advocates, Mozilla employees and much of social media over his opposition to gay marriage. Eich had donated $1,000 in 2008 to the campaign for Proposition 8, the text approved by voters but rejected by a federal court which would have made same-sex marriages impossible in California. Eich’s fatehighlights the quick changes in our societies and how they affect businesses: Mozilla, an innovative, progressive Silicon Valley company, was completely blindsided by the public’s reaction. Chairwoman Mitchell Baker knew of Eich’s donation and underestimated its importance: in the tech world at least and increasingly in many industries, gay rights have become non-negotiable. Wired’s Ryan Tate highlights how fast these changes have occurred: Meg Whitman became CEO of HP in 2011 with little controversy after politically campaigning for Prop 8. (She had a change of heart since.) The Eich controversy is also prompting some soul-searching among the very advocates who oppose his views (full disclosure – myself included): how much tolerance are intolerant people entitled to? Is being socially conservative privately now a disqualifier for leading a tech company? And are social media lynch mobs an effective or legitimate way to fight a just fight? Jim Edward of Business Insider writes:
At the heart of the move is a fundamental contradiction: Eich’s foes disapproved of Eich’s intolerance for LGBT people. But in the end they could not tolerate Eich’s opinions, which for years he kept private and, by all accounts, did not bring into the workplace.