Mozilla CEO John Lilly speaks about his future and the future of Firefox


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Here’s my five-minute interview with Mozilla Chief Executive John Lilly, who announced today that he is stepping down to join venture capital firm Greylock Partners as a venture partner.

Q: Why are you leaving Mozilla?

A: When I came to Mozilla, I was looking for a little volunteer gig to help Firefox. That volunteer work turned into a part-time consulting job, which quickly turned into a full-time job. I got so enamored by the mission and the people that I stayed. I figured it wouldn’t last more than a year or two and I would get back to my life in the start-up world. That was five years ago. It’s just one of those things. I knew I would move on sooner or later. There was a lot I wanted to put in place at Mozilla before I did. Now we have a strong build-out of Firefox 4 and 400 million users. It seemed like a good time to jump off, although I am staying on the board, so I will still be involved here.


Q: Why did you decide to join Greylock Partners?

A: I just really liked the team. They have a sensibility aimed at partnering with entrepreneurs. It seemed like a perfect fit given my background.

Q: Will you stay at Greylock or do you have another start-up in your future?

A: For now I am going to stick with my new job, try that for a while and see how it goes.

Q: Why did you choose this particular moment to leave?

A: Firefox is in a strong place. We will be able to do a pretty careful and slow transition.

Q: Has the search for your replacement begun? Will you be involved in the search? How long will it take? What qualifications will you be looking for?

A: We haven’t started the search yet, so we are just at the very beginning. How long it takes, I don’t know. As the CEO and as a board member, I definitely will be actively involved. It’s such an important organization that it’s incumbent on us to do the broadest search to find the greatest leadership. The major criteria is you have got to love great products and want to change the world. Everything else is second level to that.

-- Jessica Guynn