Jon S. von Tetzchner has been with Opera for a long time – in fact, he co-founded the browser maker back in 1995, and led the company to great success; the desktop version may play a niche role, the various mobile versions surely do not. Today though, he has announced he will be leaving the company due to differences with the board and management.
The official press release is sparse on details, and makes it seem as if there had’t been any disagreements. “It is of course a choice that brings up a lot of emotions”, von Tetzchner says in the press release, “When we first started out, we were a few guys in a really small office – now we are spread all over the world, have over 740 employees and over 200 million users. I am very proud of what we have accomplished, and look forward to following the company closely also in the future.”
Opera’s current CEO (von Tetzchner relinquished that role in 2010) also had some kind words. “We have had a lot of fun during these years, and to say that Jon has created a great company is an understatement”, says Lars Boilesen, “He has taught me and everyone working here a lot. He believed in, and pushed out innovation after innovation that we see our competitors constantly struggling with copying, making Opera a first mover in the technological development of web browsers as we know them today. We are very proud of Jon, and of course of the company.”
However, in an email sent to Opera’s employees, von Tetzchner said that his resignation comes after disagreements with the board and management – what these were about, he wouldn’t say, although he does hint that it’s a different between focussing on tomorrow, or next year.
“It has become clear that the board, management and I do not share the same values and we do not have the same opinions on how to keep evolving Opera. As a result I have come to an agreement with the Board to end my time at Opera,” von Tetzchner told Opera’s employees, “I feel the Board and Management is more quarterly focused than me. I have always worked to build the company for the future. I believe the foundation we have is very solid to build further upon.”
Even though I don’t use Opera myself, it’s pretty clear the browser is one of the more innovative projects in this field, and has managed to bring acceptable web browsing even to devices that no other browser could run on acceptably. Let’s hope that von Tetzchner’s departure does not adversely affect the company’s products.