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Mitchell Baker

Mitchell Baker at OSCON 2005
Born Winifred Mitchell Baker
Oakland, California, U.S.A.
Alma mater AB in Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, JD from the Boalt Hall School of Law
Occupation Chairperson of the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation
Spouse(s) Casey Dunn
Children 1

Winifred Mitchell Baker, better known simply as Mitchell Baker is the Chairperson of the Mozilla Foundation and Chairperson and former Chief Executive Officer of the Mozilla Corporation, a subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation that coordinates development of the open source Mozilla Internet applications, including the Mozilla Firefox web browser and the Mozilla Thunderbird email client.

Baker was trained as a lawyer. She coordinates business and policy issues and sits on both the Mozilla Foundation Board of Directors and the Mozilla Corporation Board of Directors. In 2005, Time magazine included her in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world and she has been affectionately given the title of "Chief Lizard Wrangler" at the Mozilla Corporation.[2][3]


Education and early employment

Baker received an BA in Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 1979, achieving a Certificate of Distinction. She received her JD from the Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley in 1987 and was admitted to the State Bar of California in the same year.[4][5] From January 1990 until October 1993, she worked as a Corporate and Intellectual Property Associate at Fenwick & West LLP, a law practice that specialises in providing legal services to high technology companies. She then worked for Sun Microsystems as an Associate General Counsel from November 1993 until October 1994.[6]

Netscape Communications Corporation and

In November 1994, Baker was hired as one of the first employees of the legal department of Netscape Communications Corporation.[7] Reporting directly to CEO Jim Barksdale, she jointly set up the initial department. She was responsible for intellectual property protection and legal issues relating to product development, reporting to the General Counsel. She also created and managed the Technology Group of the Legal Department. She was involved with the Mozilla project from the outset, writing both the Netscape Public License and the Mozilla Public License. In February 1999, Baker became the Chief Lizard Wrangler (general manager) of, the division of Netscape that coordinated the Mozilla open source project. In 2001, she was fired during a round of layoffs at America Online, by then the parent of Netscape.[8] Despite this, she continued to serve as the Chief Lizard Wrangler of on a volunteer basis.

Open Source Applications Foundation

In November 2002, Baker was employed by the Open Source Applications Foundation, helping to guide the group's community relations and taking a seat on OSAF's Board of Directors.[9] From the outset, she also had part of her time assigned to working on issues. However, the division of her hours gradually became more and more weighted towards her Mozilla work at the expense of her OSAF duties, leading to her decision to return to Mozilla full time in January 2005. She retained her seat on OSAF's board.

Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation

Baker in 2008

Baker was instrumental in the creation of the Mozilla Foundation, an independent non-profit that was launched on July 15, 2003 as America Online shut down the Netscape browser division and drastically scaled back its involvement with the Mozilla project. Baker became the President of the Mozilla Foundation and was appointed to the five-person Board of Directors.[2]

When the Mozilla Corporation was launched as a taxable subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation on August 3, 2005, Baker was named the CEO of the new entity. In addition, she joined the Mozilla Corporation's Board of Directors, though she also kept her seat on the Mozilla Foundation's board, as well as her role as Chairperson.

On January 8, 2008, Mozilla announced that Baker, while retaining her role as Chairperson of the Mozilla Foundation, would no longer serve as CEO of the Corporation, and that MoCo's Chief Operating Officer John Lilly would take over this role.[10] The reasons cited for this change was Mozilla's rapid growth, which made it difficult for executives to continue to wear many hats. In the future, Baker will focus on the vision and message of the Mozilla project, while leaving the nuts and bolts of running a corporation with the CEO. Lilly, however, is expected to take a more public role in the future, much as Baker has.[11]

Personal life

Mitchell is married to Casey Dunn[5] and has one son.[1]

As a hobby, she is a skilled trapeze artist, "flying" two or three times a week.[12][13] She can also speak conversational Mandarin Chinese.

She is known for her unique hair style, with her hair cut in a bob on the right side of her head, and very short on the left. Her hair coincidentally bears a resemblance to the Firefox logo.[12][14][15]


"The average consumer does not know the difference between browser, Internet and search box."[15]


  1. ^ a b "NNDB: Mitchell Baker". Soylent Communications. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-15.  
  2. ^ a b Andreessen, Marc. "100 Most Influencial People in the World: Scientists & Thinkers". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2009-02-11.  
  3. ^ "The 25 Most Influential People on the Web". Business Week. Retrieved 2009-02-11.  
  4. ^ "Web 2.0 Expo: Mitchell Baker". Web 2.0 Expo. 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2009-02-11.  
  5. ^ a b Baker, Mitchell (2009-01-21). "7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Me". Retrieved 2009-02-11.  
  6. ^ "The funky Chief Lizard Wrangler of Mozilla Corporation". Squidhoo. Retrieved 2009-02-11.  
  7. ^ " Staff Members". Retrieved 2009-02-11.  
  8. ^ Schofield, Jack (2008-02-28). "Wrangling the web into an open future". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-02-11.  
  9. ^ "Mitchell Baker Joins OSAF Staff". mozillaZine. 2002-11-18. Retrieved 2009-02-11.  
  10. ^ Schofield, Jack (2008-04-08). "Firefox's Mitchell Baker -- the anniversary interview in full". Retrieved 2009-02-11.  
  11. ^ Thomson, Iain (2008-01-08). "Mitchell Baker steps down as Mozilla appoints new boss". IT News.,mitchell-baker-steps-down-as-mozilla-appoints-new-boss.aspx. Retrieved 2009-02-11.  
  12. ^ a b "Mitchell Baker, trapeze artist and leader of an open-source web browser". The Economist. 2005-12-14. Retrieved 2007-09-26.  
  13. ^ "Firefox to the rescue video".  
  14. ^ "Suite Spot". U.S. News and World Report. 2006-03-19. Retrieved 2007-09-26.  
  15. ^ a b Questions For: Mitchell Baker, Mozilla Chairman (Andrew LaVallee, Digits, Wall Street Journal, 04 March 2009)

External links



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