Firefox director Mike Beltzner to leave Mozilla

The Mozilla Foundation has lost the director of its Firefox browser division Mike Beltzner, who announced his planned departure late yesterday in a personal blog posting.

Since leaving IBM Canada six years ago to join Mozilla, Beltzner has watched six major versions of the popular open source Firefox browser shipped - but has pledged to make the upcoming Firefox 4 release his last.

"I’ve been getting antsy for the past few months, as some people may have noticed," Beltzner declared in his blog post, "and have decided that it’s time to challenge myself by jumping into an industry about which I know next to nothing."

That industry, it turns out, is geological survey and seismic interpretation with field specialist DownUnder GeoSolutions, where Beltzner will be managing product strategy for a small team of people - 'developing advanced, disruptive technology,' he claims.

"It’s not a choice I made lightly, I can assure you," Beltzner continues. "It’s clear that Mozilla’s future is filled with exciting new challenges and opportunities, [but] it would be the most absurd hubris for me to believe for one second that Mozilla couldn’t face those challenges and opportunities without me."

Beltzner has confirmed that he will stay with Mozilla until Firefox 4, the next milestone in the browser's release history, ships, and that he will ensure a plan is in place to transition the team to Firefox 5 without a hitch.

"Even after I stop working for the Mozilla Corporation on a daily basis, don’t think you’re rid of me," Beltzner concludes. "I expect to continue to contribute as a life-long member of our passionate, engaged, and supportive community of people who love the crap out of the Web."