Difference between revisions of "CEO Search Committee"

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* [[Raymond A. Plzak]]
* [[Raymond A. Plzak]]
* [[Rajasekhar Ramaraj]]<ref>[http://www.icann.org/en/committees/ceo-search/ CEO Search Committee, icann.org]</ref>
* [[Rajasekhar Ramaraj]]<ref>[http://www.icann.org/en/committees/ceo-search/ CEO Search Committee, icann.org]</ref>

Revision as of 20:42, 29 April 2012

The ICANN CEO Search Committee was formed following Rod Beckstrom's August 2011 announcement that he will not continue as CEO past the fulfillment of his term, completed on 1 July 2012. The topic of CEO succession planning was first discussed at a Board meeting on 17 September 2011, where they directed the Board Governance Committee to appoint members to a CEO Search Process Management Work Committee.[1] The committee is contracting with search firm Odgers Berndtson in Brussels, who will be handling application inquiries and expressions of interest.[2] In January 2012, ICANN began openly advertising the position in places such as The Economist.[3]

The committee expects to announce their CEO selection in May, with the CEO taking office at the close of Beckstrom's term, on July 1, 2012.[4] The committee later stipulated a deadline of February 17th for applying for the CEO position.[5] They subsequently updated the community in February that they had received over 100 applications and were still aiming for a July, 1st start date and that they hoped to have finished the actual vetting and interviewing process with top candidates by mid-April.[6]

Njeri Rionge, former ICANN director, founder of Wananchi Online, an ISP in East Africa and Ignite Consulting, a business consultancy firm expressed her desire to apply as ICANN CEO. Her application to the position was published by Sophia Bekele, CEO of DotConnectAfrica (DCA). Lesley Cowley, CEO of Nominet and current chairperson of ccNSO was also rumored as one of the possible applicants to the position.[7]

It was reported on February 21st, several days after the application period ended, that Odgers Berndtson had collected more than 100 applications for the position, with candidates coming in from community referrals, the ad in The Economist, and the firm's outreach. The firm then interviewed 27 of these applicants and submitted the results to the CEO Search Committee. The Committee proceeded to interview 16 of these candidates via teleconference, and planned to interview a subset of this group face to face. Following the face to face interviews, the Committee plans to present a smaller subset for intensive interviewing by the ICANN Board. The Committee anticipated that the Board would announce its final decision by mid-April.[8]


At a Board meeting on 11 October 2011, the BGC announced the following members, which were approved by the Board:



At ICANN 42 in Dakar, the committee held an open session to consult with the community on the process and criteria used for selection of the next CEO. They also set up an email address to receive input, with a deadline of November 15th 2011.[10]

Public Comments

The following comments were received during the open forum held in Dakar:

  • Alejandro Pisanty pointed out that one of the biggest challenges to the ICANN CEO is working with a Board that changes, has differing opinions and motivations, and its own internal politics. He also pointed out that following the previous CEO selection process, expectations were too high for the new CEO, Rod Beckstrom. He also suggested that the salary for the next CEO could be less than Beckstrom's.
  • Desiree Miloshevic requested that the process proceed transparently and the CEO applications be made public.
  • Ron Andruff thanked the committee for the opportunity to comment on the process, as there had not been such an opportunity during previous CEO hiring processes. He also brought up the topic of salary, saying that the CEO's salary should be commensurate with ICANN's success under his or her leadership.
  • Werner Staub argued that ICANN is too dependent on its CEO, and the next CEO should be someone who is replaceable and makes themselves easily replaceable. He also argued that the position's salary should be lowered.
  • Khaled Fattal emphasized that the CEO be able to operate on behalf of global public interest, as the Internet is expanding internationally. He also addressed protecting against potential conflicts of interest in regard to the new gTLD program.
  • Sebastien Bachollet pointed out that the new CEO could come from anywhere, and that he or she doesn't need to be a superman or superwoman, but someone who can run the organization under the guidance of the Board and properly serve the volunteers within the organization.
  • Jonathan Zuck argued that ICANN is being run like a monopoly, which it is not. He stated that the organization is at a critical point of transition, and the next CEO needs to be able to turn it around and run it properly.
  • The next speaker, Roelof Meijer, agreed, saying that a major criteria for the next CEO should be the ability to improve the quality and performance of ICANN.
  • Roland Perry asked whether a requirement for the next CEO would be to have attended at least one ICANN Meeting, and whether the person must be an American citizen. The answer to both questions was no, however the person must legally be able to work in the State of California.
  • Elliot Noss reiterated the importance of hiring a person and not a set of qualities. He also emphasized the importance that the next ICANN CEO be someone with a deep connection to and understanding of the Internet, who would serve the role better due to their emotional investment.
  • Bret Fausett commented that none of the past CEOs worked out of any of the established ICANN offices, and suggested it might be a good idea for the next CEO.
  • Barry Shein questioned whether or not the position of President and CEO should be split into two or more postions.
  • Kieren McCarthy stated that what ICANN needs from a CEO is not just a frontman, but an effective delegator who values community input, who uses ICANN's assets to create effective participation and assist community members.
  • Titilayo Akinsanmi, like Staub, emphasized the importance that the next CEO be able to allow room for their successor to come in and operate effectively.
  • Naomasa Maruyama supported the idea that the CEO should support the Board and listen to the Board's guidance, instead of being in opposition to the Board, which represents the community.
  • Katim Touray emphasized that it should be necessary for the next CEO to be have the sensibility to work effectively with people and companies from the developing world, regardless of whether or not they have prior experience doing so.
  • Marilyn Cade suggested that even when the CEO Search Committee is not able to turn to the public for input on the search process, they should turn to members of SGs constituencies, advisory committees, etc, for general feedback. She also suggested that feedback continue once the CEO has been appointed, to review the CEO continuously.[11][12]

Final Criteria

The job description can be found here. The criteria decided upon by the search committee was divided into four categories: Professional, Personal, Technical, and The Internet Governance Ecosystem. The following are examples of each facet:


  • Public, corporate, or academic service at a high international level;
  • Experience working with different countries or cultures;
  • Track record of achieving results.


  • Consensus builder, motivator, persuader;
  • Innovative;
  • Empathetic, especially to those with differing backgrounds;
  • Earns respect and generates trust;
  • Multicultural, skilled at language, practiced communicator and public speaker.


  • Knowledge of Internet architecture;
  • Familiarity with ICANN community and system, including registries, registrars, ICANN's Multistakeholder Model and policy development processes;
  • Understanding of the domain name market.

The Internet Governance Ecosystem

  • Understand the institutions involved in the functioning of the Internet, including but not limited to IETF, ISOC, and W3C;
  • Knowledge of relevant government stakeholders.[13]

The full list of criteria can be found here. It is not expected that every candidate will meet every criteria.

At the CEO Succession Forum in Dakar, the committee also mentioned that no member of the current or incoming Board will apply or be considered under any circumstance for the position of CEO.[14]

Outside Opinion

One of the qualifications that was frequently discussed by ICANN attendees and commentators is whether or not the next CEO should be an American. Those against having another American CEO argue that the organization is already so U.S.-centric that a non-American leader would bolster ICANN's international reputation. The proponents of an American CEO note that the CEO must be able to work closely with the U.S. government, and command respect from American lawmakers and lobbying groups.[15]


  1. CEO Search Committee, icann.org
  2. CEO Search Committee Progress, icann.org
  3. ICANN CEO job ad in The Economist, domainincite.com
  4. CEO Selection Criteria Powerpoint Presentation, icann.org
  5. Announcement, ICANN.org
  6. Announcement, 2.21.12, ICANN.org
  7. First ICANN CEO candidate revealed
  8. CEO Search Committee, icann.org
  9. CEO Search Committee, icann.org
  10. CEO Search Committee, icann.org
  11. CEO Succession Process Public Forum, 10/24/11 (audio)
  12. CEO Succession Process Public Forum, 10/24/11 (transcript)
  13. CEO Candidate Profile, icann.org (PDF)
  14. Transcript: CEO Succession Forum, 24 October 2011
  15. ICANN's New CEO Needs to Fit the Bill, Aptantech.com