Financials be Damned
Remember when I first posted about Mitchell Baker’s desire to become the richest person in open source history? Of course not, that’s this post; until now I’ve only pointed out the places where Mitchell’s greed has clawed its way through Thunderbird to the surface.
The Lizard received feedback that posting about the greediness of Mitchell Baker isn’t particularly nice. To be sure, I fully understood what I was saying, and those of you who find my words offensive should stop reading this blog. Those statements were made intentionally to raise the profile of a few truths that are kept fairly quiet in the Mozilla community.
Mitchell Baker is the chairperson of the board of directors for the Mozilla Foundation. She’s also the chairperson of the board of directors for the Mozilla Corporation. She’s also the CEO of the Mozilla Corporation. See where I’m going with this? No? You’re a moron. You also failed U.S. history, apparently. You’re looking at Mozilla’s own version of an interlocking directorate, a form of corporate control commonly associated with the robber barons of the Gilded Age, particularly as they sought to get around the restrictions of early anti-trust legislation. Mitchell is, hands down, the most powerful person within Mozilla. Just as with the robber barons, disagree with her and you’re fucked. More importantly for the premise of this post, for each of those positions, she undoubtedly gets paid.
Let’s look closer. In 2005, Mitchell received compensation totaling $115,660 for sitting on the board of the Foundation and leading it (see PDF page 7). But 2005 was the year the Corporation split off from the Foundation. As a result, Mitchell made an additional $181,042 for being the head of that organization (see PDF page 27). Finally, Mitchell received $50,659 from the Foundation for providing back-office support (see PDF page 36). That means, if the Lizard can do math, Mitchell received a total of $347,361 in compensation for the year of 2005. Of course, that amount includes benefit contributions and is not entirely cash in her pocket.
It is now October 20, 2007, the 293rd day of 2007. The financials for 2006 have yet to be published. Of course, financials for 2005 were posted on January 2nd of this year, so we all might be waiting another 74 days to see what the Foundation doled out in 2006. Would anyone be surprised if Mitchell was making closer to $500,000 this year (2007). Five hundred thousand dollars. For $500,000 you can buy 500,000 cheeseburgers from McDonalds, 500,000 blank DVDs, or 1 Mitchell Baker.
The “market” has dictated that Mitchell is worth $500,000 a year. Since the Mozilla Foundation is accountable to the world at large (the Lizard ❤ non-profits) and I am a member of this world, I want to know what she does for that money. I’ve seen occasional appearances at events and posts to newsgroups and to her blog that outline new policies, but do we really think that’s worth $500,000 a year? Who sets that price? The board of directors, of course.
Now do you see where I’m going? The board of directors for the Mozilla Corporation (maybe Foundation) decide the salary of the CEO of the Corporation. The chairperson of that board is the CEO who’s getting paid.
The Mozilla Corporation generates $5 million a month. That’s $60 million a year. Half a million dollars go to Mitchell. It’s about goddamn time we find out what that money is getting us.
(Aside: The Lizard would be most thankful to anyone who provides the Foundation’s financials for 2006. Is there really any reason financials need to take 293 days? Maybe it’s time to read some non-profit law.)