Brendan Eich, co-founder and freshly named CEO of Mozilla, stepped down today after less than two weeks in the top executive position. Eich’s recent appointment created a firestorm of criticism from employees and customers due to his 2008 donation in support of California’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state.
While Mozilla executives have done a good job recovering from the issue by directly addressing voiced concerns and stressing their support of equality for all, the controversy has already created a great deal of negative press for the company.
This Mozilla PR crisis underscores how public figures, including business leaders, must think carefully about the public relations implications of their actions. It also exemplifies how important it is for companies to research and evaluate the potential pitfalls of employees before selecting them as the face of their brand–especially when it comes to the CEO.