Controversial Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
President and Chief Executive Officer Stuart Lynn announced Tuesday his
intention to retire when his term is due up next year.
Lynn has been the subject of considerable ire among advocates for a “free”
Internet. In the almost two years Lynn has been chief of ICANN, the U.S.
root server responsible for policy affecting the .com, .net, .org and the
seven new top-level domains (TLDs), he’s been criticized for continuing a
trend of bureaucratic micro- management.
“I immensely enjoy my position and working with my colleagues and the
community to accomplish ICANN’s mission,” he said in a released statement.
“But this is a 7 day-a-week, 24 hours-per-day job and I now need to pay
attention to my personal life and health.”
Lynn announced his intentions to retire one year before his two-year
contract expired to give ICANN’s board of directors ample time to find a
replacement and provide a smooth transition of power.
According to Mary Hewitt, ICANN spokesperson, the board of directors has
established a search committee to find Lynn’s replacement before he leaves
next March. Hopefully time enough, she said, for one final piece of
business on ICANN’s agenda.
“By (March 2003), hopefully, the reform process will have shaken out and
been completed,” she said.
It might be his final item on the agenda before leaving, but certainly not
Lynn’s least important. In fact, his efforts between now and next March
will likely determine how history writers will treat the oft-maligned
ICANN has drawn fire from individuals and groups
representing the “common” Internet users since its inception in the
1990s. Whether it’s the organization’s decision to keep its ‘board
squatters’ in power, approving (or
disapproving) new TLDs or raising the
fees to keep the organization afloat, watchdog groups have been
hounding its directors and namely its boss — Lynn.
Until recently, ICANN has been given carte blanche to conduct its
affairs in the manner its sees best under the terms of its contract with
the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), which awarded ICANN authority over
.com and other U.S. root server domain extensions. But Lynn’s recent proposal
to revamp ICANN has met with not only advocate outrage, but Congressional
Andrew McLaughlin, ICANN vice president and chief policy officer, also
announced his decision to retire, but on July 1, though he will work
part-time to ensure a smooth transition. McLaughlin is returning to Harvard
Law School’s Berman Center for Internet & Society.
“Both Stuart and Andrew have made extraordinary contributions to ICANN,”
said Vint Cerf, ICANN board chairman. “We are relying on them both to
continue their diligent work on ICANN’s behalf until these transitions have
run their full course.”