ICANN Taps Interim Leaders As Transition Begins

Poised to assume control of the domain name and
Internet protocol address systems from the U.S. government, The Internet
Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Tuesday announced a new
leadership structure.


The group unveiled its slate of interim officers and elected initial board
members following weekend meetings in New York.


Michael M. Roberts was elected interim president and chief executive
officer and will serve on ICANN’s executive committee. Technology advocate
Esther Dyson was named interim chairman.


Other members of the group’s executive committee include Australian Greg
Crew and Hans Kraaijenbrink of The Netherlands, Geraldine Capdeboscq of
France, Jun Murai of Japan, Eugenio Triana of Spain, and Americans Linda S.
Wilson, George H. Conrades and Frank Fitzsimmons. Initial board members
will only serve until the permanent ICANN structure and full board are in
place. The group hopes to have that done by next fall.


The private, non-profit group of international Netizens was established
by the late Jon Postel and the Internet
Assigned Numbers Authority
to administer policies and technical
protocols concerning the domain name system. The group moved quickly to
establish a transition process following Postel’s sudden death Oct. 16.


The board’s first meeting included the adoption of basic organizational
resolutions. The board did not adopt bylaws, preferring to wait
until it weighed issues raised in last week’s letter from The National Telecommunications and
Information Administration
.


The NTIA, part of the Department of Commerce, gave its conditional support
to ICANN, provided it addressed concerns by critics such as Boston Working
Group, the Open Root Server Confederation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


Dyson is also a member of EFF’s Board of Directors and former chairman.


Dyson said the Board is drafting a response to the Commerce letter
regarding ICANN policies and bylaws and expects to deliver a letter within
two weeks.


“We hope to begin to discuss the specific terms of a transition agreement
with the Commerce Department very soon,” Dyson said.


“We hope ICANN can get these preliminary issues resolved quickly, and turn
to the long list of important tasks that face us, including the
establishment of a final membership structure, the procedures for the
election of board members and the recognition and certification of the
specialized Supporting Organizations for Addresses, Protocols, and Domain
Names that will be the working policy bodies of ICANN.”


ICANN said in a statement it chose Roberts because his background,
experience and availability meshed with ICANN’s needs. Roberts is the
former vice president for
networking of EDUCOM, an association of more 600 colleges and
universities now known as Educause.
Roberts was also an organizer and first project director of the Internet2
project, where he incorporated the University Corporation for Advanced
Internet Development (UCAID).


“Mike’s long background in the networking field, and
particularly his experience in starting up significant non-profit
organizations in this field, are particularly applicable to what ICANN will
need as it completes its initial organizational efforts,” Dyson said.


“His reputation and credibility will be important assets for ICANN. He
knows most of the relevant people and organizations worldwide, but he is
known for being nonpartisan.”


Roberts is assume his position immediately. In a statement, he said it is
important that the transition from government control be accomplished
quickly and efficiently.


“Given the international character of that board, the logistics of this
effort will be complex. The initial board needs to quickly make itself
available to the entire Internet community, both electronically and in
person, so it can be certain to hear and understand the concerns and needs
of the community that it is to serve,” said Roberts.


ICANN said Roberts is not a candidate for long-term presidency and
CEO of the group. The board said it will immediately begin a search process
a permanent chief.


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