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Evolving ICANN’s Executive Team

Since my last update on ICANN’s Executive Team, I have made further enhancements to its structure to help provide continuity and optimize the ICANN organization’s performance to better support the community. As I’ve said before, this is an evolution, not a revolution.

To help provide continuity of service, I’ve asked that each member of ICANN’s Executive Team appoint a ‘number two’ to act as a deputy and stand in when needed. In our global environment, being able to delegate and empower alleviates pressure on any one person and helps us work smarter. This ultimately means better service to the community.

I am happy to announce that my deputy is Akram Atallah. Akram has tremendous experience and knowledge of ICANN, having been interim CEO before. He heads up the Global Domains Division, which is the arm that implements community policy and provides many services to the community, such as global customer support, new gTLD operations and services to registries and registrars.

Susanna Bennett will continue as Chief Operating Officer, but with some adjusted responsibilities. Board Operations, led by Melissa King, will now move from John Jeffrey to report to Susanna. I have also asked Susanna to set up a new Organizational Review team. This team will focus on the internal assessment and controls audit, and reporting of organization-wide performance, based on targets, to ensure best practices and alignment across the organization.

Chief Financial Officer Xavier Calvez continues to report to Susanna and will remain on the Executive Team. Also continuing to report to Susanna will be the Global Operations and Security Operations teams.

As CEO of the ICANN organization, I believe people are our most important asset. I have been fortunate to see the great work of a very talented group of colleagues. How we support these colleagues and help them with development is very important to me. To that end, Diane Schroeder has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources reporting directly to me and will join the Executive Team.

You’ll recall that Allen Grogan, currently reporting to Akram, is leaving ICANN in December. This role will be filled by a new Senior Vice President of Contract Compliance and Consumer Safeguards reporting directly to me. We are in the process of searching for someone to fill this role and will post the job description shortly here.

Finally, John Jeffrey will continue in his current role as ICANN’s General Counsel and Secretary, and in that role will continue to be responsible for supporting the ICANN Board’s work. I am also expanding John’s remit as we are creating a new role of an ICANN Complaints Officer. The ICANN Complaints Officer will receive, investigate and respond to complaints about the ICANN organization’s effectiveness, and will be responsible for all complaints systems and mechanisms across the ICANN organization. We will be appointing someone to this role, reporting directly to John. This person will work closely with Ombudsman Herb Wayne.

The Complaints Officer is an important role that will provide a focus point for the community if they have complaints about the ICANN organization. It is an additional way to keep the organization and me accountable to you, the global ICANN community. The purpose of the office is to ensure that complaints and particularly those of community members, about systemic issues or concerns about the organization are heard, reviewed, analyzed and resolved as openly as appropriate. I want to be clear though that this in no way replaces or supersedes the important role of all ICANN’s formal accountability mechanisms.

Having the right leadership structure and management discipline in place is critical to ICANN’s success. While the rest of the Executive Team remains the same and you can find details here, I feel these enhancements will allow the ICANN organization to better support the community and lead ICANN into its next chapter.


    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."