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First Non-American to Head ICANN

Australian Paul Twomey, the incoming president and CEO of ICANN, told reporters Wednesday afternoon his selection as the first non-American to head the organization in charge of the Internet global addressing system represents another step in the maturation of ICANN. Twomey takes over for the outgoing Stuart Lynn on March 27.

"I think it is a reflection of an openness to a full international vision," Twomey said. "Four years ago, the U.S. was clearly the most dominant Internet country. What was an obvious constituency four years is rapidly changing."

Twomey is currently managing director of Argo P@cific, an Australian Internet consulting and incubator corporation. He pledged Wednesday that his company will do no business with ICANN while he represents the organization. The 47-year-old former chair of the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee will be paid $260,000 per year on a three-year contract that has a one year renewal option.

While he plans to maintain his Australian residency, Twomey said he would spending a great edal of is time in Marina Del Ray, Calif., the headquarters of ICANN. He joked that most of the time his permanent residency would be on an airplane.

"I look forward to enriching ICANN's global relationships and completing its reform efforts," Twomey said. "I plan to consult with all sectors of ICANNs communities to learn how we can work together for the good of the Internet."

From 1989-1994 Twomey worked for the global consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, which specialized in telecommunications and financial services. Between 1994-1997, he gained further international experience as executive general manager of the Australian Trade Commission.

He also headed Australia's National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) from 1997-2000. As a special adviser, he coordinated the governments National Strategy for the Information Economy. In 2000, the Australian government appointed him its Special Representative for the Internet and ICANN.

Twomey's background with ICANN dates back to his involvement with the original white paper process that led to ICANN's founding.

"ICANN's mission is very clear: focus on certain technical and administrative issues centered around the Internet," Twomey said. "Of course, those issues flow into issues like privacy and intellectual property, but it's not our role to fix those things but to go to other organizations and help highlight and resolve the issues."