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CEO Roundtable II: The Registries

5 February 2013
By Fadi Chehadé

On Monday, I was very pleased to host more than a dozen leaders from the registry community; participants in our latest CEO Roundtable series focused on key issues and trends within the Domain Name System sector.

Over the course of a day, we discussed the evolution of the DNS sector from a number of perspectives and explored the opportunities and risks that these changes pose. The group provided constructive ideas about creating a platform for growth, innovation, and greater consumer and investor awareness. Research analysis, the creation of an infographic depicting the DNS ecosystem, and mechanisms to educate the media and public about the DNS sector were also highlighted.

In short, we addressed common goals, shared responsibilities and the value of raising awareness among consumers worldwide of the DNS sector, affirming our commitment to the public interest. I also expressed my hope and vision for a strengthened and streamlined business contracting framework between ICANN and its contracted parties.

While the topic of the roundtable was not the new gTLD program, I was asked to clarify recent comments I made at the ICANN Registry and Registrar meeting in Amsterdam. I took the opportunity to reassure everyone that:

  • ICANN remains focused on the new gTLD timeline, and I am confident that we can do so without comprising ICANN’s deep, immovable commitment to the stability of the DNS.
  • We do not foresee any delays of the new gTLD program, we are working to assure that none occur, and the entire organization is pressing forward to comply with deadlines.
  • We have assembled a team of qualified professionals, experienced in making complex programs fully operational, and they have my full confidence. Staff is working hard and it is important for the community to be aware of the intense demands placed upon them by the schedule.
  • We will continue to increase the volume of communications pertaining to operational details of the new gTLD program, addressing both the technical and political risks encountered at various decision points.
  • I will also endeavor to explain, to the extent possible, the trade-offs and various considerations being balanced during each implementation milestone of the new gTLD program.

I am grateful to the registry leaders for their candid, constructive feedback and look forward to continued dialogue as we host more CEO roundtables through the spring. Finally, I have asked past roundtable participants to consider participating in a DNS Summit meeting to serve as the culminating event for this series.

CEO Roundtable II: The Registries - Participants

Roundtable participants (as pictured) include:

Top Row (from left to right): Fadi Chehadé, Edmon Chung, Raymond King, Paul Stahura, Adrian Kinderis, Khashayar Mahdavi, Thomas Embrescia, Santi Ribera and Cary Karp

Bottom Row (from left to right): D. James Bidzos, Antony Van Couvering, Stuart Lawley, Byron Henderson, Brian Cute and Frank Schilling

The feedback already being provided by those in attendance is very encouraging:

“ICANN’s commitment to bottom-up policy development should not preclude exchanges of ideas in other venues, and therefore I was delighted to attend the Registry CEO roundtable. The very useful and candid discussions with senior members of ICANN staff were immensely productive for both sides and I applaud the extension of this initiative to other parts of the ICANN community. Working with a fully engaged ICANN CEO and staff was truly heartening and bodes well for the new gTLD program and the organization as a whole.”

- Antony Van Couvering, CEO, Top Level Domain Holdings

“It was impressive that ICANN CEO Fadi Chahede personally reached out to so many industry leaders. What I wasn’t expecting was how persuasive and passionate he’d be about our joint responsibility to be good stewards of the space. I am very encouraged by his leadership.”

- Raymond King, CEO, AboutUs.org

“I was very pleased to attend this CEO roundtable as our industry is on the verge of a phenomenal change that will have a lasting influence for the years to come. I would like to thank ICANN and Fadi for bringing us all together today at this historical moment to seek our advice and support. All of us look forward to maintaining an open, free and secure Internet that will continue to spread ideas, innovation and knowledge across the world.”

- Khashayar Mahdavi, CEO, Telnic, Ltd.

“It was a pleasure to attend this productive session, and I’m heartened that Fadi has recommitted ICANN to its gTLD evaluation and rollout schedule, and to concluding this years-long process so the benefits of new gTLDs can be brought to Internet users.”

- Paul Stahura, Co-Founder and CEO, Donuts Inc.

“ICANN is fortunate to have a hands-on CEO and an engaged, supportive staff. These are people who believe passionately in the unfettered freedom of the Internet, coupled with strong rule of law safeguards to protect Internet users and stakeholders.”

- Frank Schilling, Founder and Managing Director,
Uniregistry, Corp.

“The highlight of the CEO roundtable for me was the renewed commitment from ICANN to generate greater awareness worldwide of the DNS industry and the vital work we all do. It is critical to the continued innovation and advancement of the Internet that the wider business sector, governments and end users understand the important role our industry plays in the digital economy.”

- Adrian Kinderis, CEO, ARI Registry Services

“This is ICANN at its best – Fadi, Akram and team are open, available and they listen. This is not your father’s ICANN. I’m very excited about all of our opportunities going forward.”

- Tom Embrescia, Chairman & CEO, .JOBS

“On behalf of Public Interest Registry, we truly appreciate Fadi’s, as well as ICANN staff’s, willingness to engage with registries on how to promote the DNS Sector during the new TLD process and beyond. Given Fadi’s focus in his first four months on serving the public interest and his track record of openness, candor and engagement with the community, we are optimistic that we are heading in a positive direction and look forward to our next meeting.”

- Brian Cute, CEO, Public Interest Registry

“I am deeply impressed by the efforts undertaken by the ICANN staff and its CEO, Fadi Chehadé, to enhance the global perception of the value of the Domain Name Sector. The CEO roundtable was yet another expression of their extraordinary level of commitment to understand and bring into the organization the diversity of views from so many constituents of the community. It is crucial that we, as an industry, seize the opportunity the new gTLD program final rollout offers us to raise the profile of our core values, and to reinforce the strategic value of the domain names as an endurable and reliable identity asset. As the CEO of a Registry devoted to a linguistic and cultural community, I can’t overstate how relevant the role of the communities is for the future of the Domain Name Sector.”

- Santi Ribera, CEO, Fundació puntCAT

“The opportunity to engage in a dialogue that transverses communication, market and community aspects of the domain industry within the context of Internet governance is, I believe, an exciting and productive undertaking. Congratulations to Fadi on initiating this and look forward to future roundtables, as well as when the ideas discussed begin to bear fruit.”

- Edmon Chung, CEO, DotAsia Organisation


Fadi Chehadé

Former President & CEO