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ICANN's President and CEO Announces Departure

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Mexico City, Mexico — 2 March 2009 — Founders and leaders of the Internet today praised the achievements of Dr Paul Twomey, the President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN, after learning that Twomey had advised ICANN's Board of Directors that he will not seek renewal of his contract and will move on from ICANN at the end of 2009.

Twomey announced his decision at the opening session of ICANN's 34th International Public Meeting in Mexico City, which has drawn more than 1,200 attendees from every corner of the globe.

"Last year, I told the Board that I did not want to renew my contract as President and CEO for another 3 year term," said Twomey. "While I am deeply and personally committed to ICANN and its success, I think this is the right time for me to move on to another leadership position in the private or international sectors."

Twomey was named CEO and President in 2003, after serving, for 4 years, as the Chairman of ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). He oversaw the phenomenal growth of an organization that has become the primary coordinator of the Internet's global address system.

"I'm delighted to have taken part in building ICANN's role in assuring a stable and secure Internet," said Twomey. "The Board has asked me to stay on after it appoints a successor to have a period of handover with the new appointee. During this transition period I shall be appointed to the new position of Senior President."

"Paul Twomey has made an extraordinary contribution to ICANN" said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of the Board. "He was involved in its set up, helped establish the role of governments in his term as founding chair of the GAC, and then was its longest serving CEO. He guided the organization through the World Summit on the Information Society in 2005 and has been one of the strongest and most persuasive advocates for the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance"

Upon learning of Twomey's decision to step down, some of the most significant leaders in the Internet community praised his work.

Vint Cerf, known as the Father of the Internet and 8 year Chairman of the ICANN Board said "I can think of no other person who has had more influence on the course of ICANN's evolution than Paul. We owe him a great debt for long and faithful service and I owe him personal thanks for his counsel during my time on the Board. The Board will be challenged to find a worthy and capable successor."

Lynn St Amour, the CEO of the Internet Society (ISOC) commented "During his tenure, ICANN has become a stronger organization and, as a key element of the Internet ecosystem, has ensured the security and stability of the Domain Name System. The Internet Society extends its appreciation to Dr. Twomey for his service and dedication to ICANN and its communities. We look forward to working with him on major issues over the remainder of this year" she said.

Egypt's Minister of Information and Communications, Tarek Kamel also thanked Twomey for his many contributions.

"We were happy in Egypt and the developing world to work together with an outstanding person like Paul Twomey in Internet Governance issues. He was always trying to bring some balance to the global Internet policy dialogue," said Kamel. "Egypt was also delighted to host successful ICANN meetings during his term. We thank him for his contributions and wish him further luck in his career."

Dengate Thrush said the board was delighted to be able to retain Twomey's unique skills until the end of the year. "This is a momentous year for ICANN, and it is good that we will be able to continue with business as usual. "

Twomey agreed his announcement will not be a distraction from ICANN's ongoing work and its international meeting being held this week in Mexico.

"I'm looking forward to this week's discussions on a range of issues that will affect current Internet users and the billions still to come" he said.


Paul Twomey's biographical information can be found at:

The complete schedule for ICANN's 34th International Public Meeting in Mexico City, as well as links to webcast sessions and our public participation website, can be found at:

About ICANN:

To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn't have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet's unique identifiers. ICANN doesn't control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn't deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. For more information please visit:


Brad White
Director of Media Affairs
Ph. +52 55 181 68619

Andrew Robertson, Edelman PR
Ph: +44 7921 588 770

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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."