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ICANN Elects Board and Appoints Interim President

26 October 1998

NEW YORK, Oct. 26, 1998 -- The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") today announced that it had elected its Initial Board and chosen Michael M. Roberts as its Interim President and Chief Executive Officer at a meeting yesterday.

In addition, the Board chose Esther Dyson as its Interim Chairman, and appointed an Executive Committee consisting of Dyson, Gregory L, Crew of Australia, Hans Kraaijenbrink of The Netherlands and Roberts. The other Initial Board members include Geraldine Capdeboscq (France), George H. Conrades (United States), Gregory L. Crew (Australia), Frank Fitzsimmons (United States), Hans Kraaijenbrink (The Netherlands), Jun Murai (Japan), Eugenio Triana (Spain), and Linda S. Wilson (United States). [Editors note: bios appear at the end of this release.]

ICANN is a private, non-profit corporation, managed by an international board, formed to coordinate and administer policies and technical protocols relating to the domain name and address system that permits Internet communications to be routed to the correct person or entity. Its proposed duties include those now performed under U.S. Government contract by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, whose Director, Internet pioneer Jon Postel, died earlier this month.

ICANN was originally proposed by Postel on behalf of a broad coalition of Internet stakeholders in response to the request by the United States last June that the Internet community create a global consensus non-profit corporation to which the United States could transition the responsibility for overseeing and funding those coordination activities. On October 16, Dr. Postel unexpectedly passed away. With the loss of Dr. Postel, who had served a central coordinating role in the creation of ICANN and in the submission of the IANA proposal, many of the supporters of the IANA proposal urged that the nascent ICANN organization be quickly constituted and elect its Initial Board members so that ICANN, through its Initial Board, could take on the management of the remainder of the transition process.

At its first meeting, which took place in New York, the Board also adopted basic organizational resolutions. The Board did not adopt bylaws, deferring that until it had finished its consideration of the issues raised in the Commerce letter and by various groups and individuals.

With respect to the election of Roberts as Interim President, Board members had been asked to suggest candidates for the position in advance of the meeting, and several possible candidates were discussed. Following this discussion, Dyson said, Roberts was appointed because his background, experience and availability were a good fit with ICANN's needs at the moment. Roberts has extensive experience with both networking and with non-profit institutions, including service as the Vice President for Networking of EDUCOM, an association of more than 600 member colleges and universities. In 1991, he was detailed from EDUCOM to serve as a Founding Trustee and the first Executive Director of the Internet Society, where he carried out for this international organization many of the same start-up organizational functions that will be required for ICANN. In 1996-97, he was an organizer and first project director of the Internet2 project, a university effort to design, integrate and deploy advanced networking infrastructure and applications to support research, teaching and learning. His work in that role included structuring and incorporating the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UCAID), another effort that will be particularly helpful in the early organizational efforts for ICANN.

Said Dyson: "Mike's long background in the networking field, and particularly his experience in starting up significant non-profit organizations in this field, are particularly applicable to what ICANN will need as it completes its initial organizational efforts. His reputation and credibility will be important assets for ICANN. He knows most of the relevant people and organizations worldwide, but he is known for being nonpartisan."

Roberts will begin work immediately. "It is critical," said Roberts, "that the functions that ICANN will be responsible for be carried out without interruption, and that the transition from United States control of some of these functions and related assets be accomplished efficiently and quickly. The tasks that require immediate attention include:

    -- ICANN's short and long term funding mechanisms must be established;

    -- The Initial Board activities must be staffed and supported; given the international character of that Board, the logistics of this effort will be complex; and,

    -- The Initial Board needs to quickly make itself available to the entire Internet community, both electronically and in person, so it can be certain to hear and understand the concerns and needs of the community that it is to serve."

Like the Initial Board members, who will serve only until the complete permanent ICANN structure and full Board are in place (planned for the fall of 1999), Roberts is not a candidate to be the long-term President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN. The Board will immediately begin the process of searching for a long-term President and Chief Executive Officer.

Interim Chairman Dyson said that the Board is working on a response to the Commerce letter relating to ICANN policies and bylaws, and that it plans to deliver it in an open letter within two weeks. "in addition," she said, " we hope to begin to discuss the specific terms of a transition agreement with the Commerce Department very soon. We hope ICANN can get these preliminary issues resolved quickly, and turn to the long list of important tasks that face us, including the establishment of a final membership structure, the procedures for the election of Board members by that membership, and the recognition and certification of the specialized Supporting Organizations for Addresses, Protocols, and Domain Names that will be the working policy bodies of ICANN."