What ICANN needs now

by Maria on August 17, 2011

In March, I wrote about ICANN’s current leadership, and how it is costing the organization its key people and international reputation. I publicly addressed ICANN’s Board of Directors with my concerns during its San Francisco meeting, and was astonished by the level of support for my view. My aim was to make very public an issue that was deeply damaging to the organization behind closed doors and help make it impossible for the Board to continue to publicly ignore.

ICANN’s Board has now decided not to renew Rod Beckstrom’s contract as CEO when the deal expires in 2012.* There had been calls for Beckstrom to resign or be fired before the end of his contract, but I’m glad the Board is ensuring that the search for a new CEO is not rushed unnecessarily. Hasten slowly, as my grandmother used to say.

As many know, the Board’s new Chair, Dr. Steve Crocker, has spent considerable time over the past year or so on regular phone calls to Rod Beckstrom, not so much in coaching mode as providing a sounding board and voice of experience. That solid working relationship is a credit to both and will help to ease the transition to new leadership.

The Board has given itself time to think hard about a new CEO and make sure the decision is the right one. Presumably they will set up a search committee. I hope that committee can include or consult members of the Internet community. Here are some points the search committee might consider.

‘Multi-stakeholder’ is not a slogan. It’s ICANN’s DNA.

Rod’s most obvious legacy is a largely new, mostly American executive team with shallow ties to the global Internet naming and numbering community. They will need to work hard with the community to show they understand that ‘multi-stakeholder’ is more than a slogan, and that transparency and accountability are not optional. [click to continue…]