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The Chairman’s Blog: The ICANN Ombudsman

24 June 2016
By Steve Crocker

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The role of the ICANN Ombudsman is a critical part of our accountability. It has been the subject of significant discussion throughout the community’s Enhancing ICANN Accountability process, and is currently being examined in Work Stream 2 (WS2) of the CCWG-Accountability.

The ICANN Board is committed to the important role of an independent Ombudsman, and looks forward to the Work Stream 2 discussion. While we wait for the community work to conclude, which will determine what the role of the ICANN Ombudsman will look like in the future, after five years as ICANN’s Ombudsman, Chris LaHatte’s contract comes to an end on 27 July 2016.

Pending the conclusion of the community work, Herb Waye, the current Adjunct Ombudsman, will assume the role of Ombudsman, starting 28 July 2016. Herb has performed this role once before, during our last Ombudsman handover, and we are grateful for his commitment.  We also greatly appreciate Chris’s support towards a smooth transition of responsibilities. To that end, Chris has agreed to stay on as a consultant to Herb for the first three months of his service as Ombudsman.

Once the community’s recommendations on an updated scope and nature of the ICANN Ombudsman’s role have been issued and considered by the Board, we will put out a Call for Expressions of Interest, and conduct a global search for the next Ombudsman.

On behalf of the Board, I want to express my deep gratitude and thanks to Chris for everything he has done during his years of service, and his dedication to this important role. I look forward to thanking him in person at our upcoming meeting in Helsinki.

I also want to reaffirm that the Board is fully committed to the role of an independent Ombudsman as a core pillar of ICANN accountability both now, and in the future.


Steve Crocker

Former ICANN Board Chair