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Update on the Search and Appointment of a New President and CEO of ICANN

14 June 2009

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At the ICANN meeting in Mexico City in March 2009, the current President and CEO of ICANN, Dr Paul Twomey, announced that he will not seek renewal of his contract and will move on from ICANN at the end of 2009.

Since then the Board has been engaged in the process of recruiting and appointing a new CEO. The ICANN Board hired Egon Zehnder International to conduct a world-wide search to locate ICANN's next CEO in accordance with the specifications listed at http://www.icann.org/en/careers/ceo-31mar09-en.htm. Egon Zehnder received over 100 applications in response to the ICANN notice, reviewed approximately 1000 possible candidates on their databases, and from these lists approached over 300 potential candidates. There was significant diversity of gender, nationality, and country of residence amongst the candidates.

The Board approved a Board Search Committee (BSC) comprised of Dennis Jennings (Chair, Board Governance Committee), Harald Alvestrand (Chair, Board IANA Committee), Rajasekhar Ramaraj (Chair, Board Finance Committee), Rita Rodin Johnston (Chair, Board Audit Committee), and Peter Dengate Thrush (Chair, Board Compensation Committee and ICANN Board Chair).

The BSC reviewed the resumes of candidates recommended by Egon Zehnder and conducted interviews of a short list of 8 candidates via video conference. The BSC reviewed the candidates against the four broad areas of:

  • Leadership (demonstrated leadership skills, strategic thinking capability, demonstrated capacity to build trust)
  • Political skills (diplomacy skills at an international level with heads of state etc, international expertise and experience - sensitivity to multiple cultures, work experience in several countries, Internet community credibility - sense of history of Internet – and an ability to listen to and appreciate different points of view, and to work with the diverse stakeholder groups within ICANN – GNSO, ccNSO, ASO, ALAC, GAC, IETF, etc)
  • Technical Skills (technical understanding - ability to listen and interact with the Internet technical community, presentation skills - able to give interviews, speeches etc. on highly complex topics such as IDN-ccTLDs, policy development skills - ability to motivate and support ICANN volunteer organisations and build consensus around a plan despite obstacles, Board skills - experience dealing with a large and diverse Board)
  • Management skills (good at managing staff, planning and budgeting, team building, and experience of managing a global not-for-profit, for-profit, or governmental organisation of approximately the present size of ICANN)
The BSC was particularly pleased to hear from Egon Zehnder that several candidates from within the ICANN community had applied for the role, and that these candidates had great strengths in several of the criteria considered above. However, considering all the criteria as a whole, Egon Zehnder did not consider that these candidates should be on the shortlist to be interviewed by the BSC.

Following the interviews of the short-listed candidates, the BSC created a smaller shortlist for a further interview by the whole ICANN Board via video conference against the criteria above.   The Board has selected a leading candidate, and initial contract discussions are now underway. The intention is that these negotiations will have progressed sufficiently that the candidate will attend the ICANN meeting in Sydney to meet with the Board face-to-face. The Board intends to introduce the lead candidate to other members of the ICANN community during that meeting. The Board expects to be in a position to approve the selection of the new CEO at the Board Meeting on 26 June 2009, during the ICANN Sydney Meeting.