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Strengthening our Structure and Enhancing Collaboration

17 August 2020
By Göran Marby

In June, I shared several organizational changes intended to help us support our community by improving efficiencies, strengthening collaboration, and maximizing our resources.

This evolution included giving Xavier Calvez, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, responsibility for planning and reviews implementation. I also named Theresa Swinehart, Senior Vice President, Multistakeholder Strategy & Strategic Initiatives (MSSI), as the permanent leader of the combined Global Domains Division (GDD) and MSSI functions. Theresa will also continue in her co-deputy role.

Today I want to provide you with an update on progress that has been in made in formalizing these changes.

The functions that Xavier is responsible for now fall under the newly named Office of the Chief Financial Officer. This includes two newly created departments:


This group is responsible for all planning-related activities previously carried out throughout the organization: strategic planning activities previously conducted by MSSI, operating planning activities performed by Operations, and all of the operating planning and budgeting activities carried out by Finance. The Finance team will continue to contribute financial planning information as part of the planning process.

This team will also lead ICANN org in evolving our planning across ICANN (org, Board, and community) to be more integrated, collaborative, and effective. This will allow us to prioritize and organize ICANN's activities with all participants in the ICANN ecosystem.

Implementation Operations

This group will manage and be responsible for all implementation activities (excluding policy implementation), including reviews recommendations. Reviews are important accountability mechansims required by ICANN's bylaws and critical to maintaining a healthy multistakeholder model. This group is tasked with the implementation of reviews through collaborative and efficient planning and delivery. The implementation of reviews recommendations is a complex cross-functional set of steps that requires effective and efficient planning, organization, delivery, management, and monitoring so that adopted recommendations can be implemented in a timely and sustainable manner.

Xavier will continue to lead the Finance and Procurement teams, which includes Financial Planning & Analysis, Accounting, Accounts Payable, Payroll, and Billing/Accounts Receivable. Procurement and Risk Management are also under Xavier's purview.

Now let's turn to the integration of GDD and MSSI. Led by Theresa as SVP, this new department is called Global Domains and Strategy, or GDS.

This integration allows us to address subject areas that bridge policy, review recommendations, strategy, and specific initiatives impacting stakeholders. It also enables ICANN org to further leverage natural synergies and efficiencies, strengthen collaboration, ensure coordination with relevant policy implementation planning activities, and better support stakeholders and the community. Here's an overview of the structure:

GDD Accounts & Services

This team will closely coordinate with other departments and across ICANN org with regard to projects and programs that impact ICANN's contracted parties. Included in these responsibilities are working with and managing ICANN's relationships and contracts with registries and registrars; managing the lifecycle of services for contracted parties as required by contracts and policies; and leading projects and programs related to the contracted parties. This team will also lead the coordination of org discussions relevant to contracted parties, on topics such as Domain Name System (DNS) abuse, and continue to coordinate the GDD Industry Summit.

GDS Technical Services

This team is responsible for providing subject matter expertise support on technical operational issues and special projects. This includes managing systems primarily related to contracted parties (e.g. compliance with performance functions for critical gTLD functions); and managing services associated with registrants (e.g. Emergency Back-end Registry Operations) and other users (e.g. gTLD data used by browser and other applications). This team also develops and/or maintains technical specification used by contracted parties (e.g Domain Name System Security Extensions, or DNSSEC); engaging with the technical community and coordinating related technical initiatives; and support other teams within ICANN as technical experts. In terms of systems and services, this group focuses on developing requirements, prioritizing their development, and coordinating operational issues with our Engineering & Information Technology group or vendors, as well as communicating with external users.

Policy Research and Stakeholder Programs

This team provides community and org support for cross-functional policy and research activities and programs. Examples include engagement with the GNSO policy development processes on strategic subject matter themes, and providing policy implementation, and review support. Additional responsibilities include supporting the ICANN Board of Directors in analyzing actionable advice and policy recommendations, and leading coordination and internal discussions in critical areas such as New gTLD Subsequent Procedures. This team also will focus on advancing work across the Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) and Universal Acceptance (UA) programs. As a part of these efforts, the group will establish a strong research focus to support relevant ICANN org work.

Review Support and Accountability

This group supports the community by running the operation of reviews and by facilitating discussions intended to streamline reviews to enhance their impact as part of ICANN's evolving bylaws-mandated accountability. Additionally, the team oversees the coordination of the internal cross-functional governance regarding the implementation of recommendations of the Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability and Work Stream 2 (WS2).

Strategic Initiatives

This team focuses on strategic initiatives and evolving issues that impact ICANN org's remit and its stakeholders, as well as work undertaken by the community, such as the evolution of the multistakeholder model, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coordination including the Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP).

Operations, Service Delivery, and Support

This department delivers ongoing support services to contracted parties, the ICANN community, and global Internet users, and provides reporting and analysis to various groups within GDS. Overall, the team is responsible for: tracking Board advice and review team recommendations; managing ICANN correspondence, various report and analysis functions, Global Support Center services; and registrar and registry service delivery.

The transition is well underway, and while it will take some time to complete, I am confident that this evolution will allow us to enhance accountability, collaboration, and communication within ICANN, and better support our community.

I hope you are, and continue to remain, safe during these unusual times.


Göran Marby

Göran Marby

Former President & CEO