Former Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs has resurfaced as the new head of Dutch-Czech antivirus firm AVG, replacing JR Smith who resigned the post in March.

Kovacs himself left Mozilla only weeks after Smith was shifted to AVG’s supervisory board, having overseen a shift in emphasis from browser-oriented development to mobile systems including the firm’s still-developing Firefox OS smartphones and tablets.  

“We know that there are over two and a half billion people online and we anticipate another two and a half billion people coming online in the next five years.  With all these people online there is going to be an increasing urgency to secure them,” said Kovacs.

“I have dedicated my last three years to that pursuit and with AVG building products that simplify and secure users’ digital lives, it is a natural fit. I am really excited to be here and I am looking forward to helping AVG continue to grow its business.”

Kovacs joined Mozilla as CEO in October 2010 after a career that seen him working in senior positions for Sybase, Adobe, Macromedia, Zi Corporation, and even IBM.

AVG have likely hired Kovacs for the same reason Mozilla did; his all-round experience working for software companies.

The firm certainly needs that kind of quality, having gone public in 2012 in an IPO that headed south on worries about competition and the long-term viability of antivirus products marketed on a freemium model. 

After significant drops on the issue price, the shares have recovered strongly since Smith’s departure, which is probably more to do with returning sentiment than a judgement on him.

“We welcome Gary to AVG and look forward to benefiting from his seasoned leadership skills as CEO and as a member of the Management Board,” said Dale Fuller, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of AVG.

“His past career successes are directly applicable to the opportunity and the future of AVG ­­- mobile, cloud, software and platforms - and we believe that his rare blend of experience, leadership and drive will take AVG to new levels.”