[AfrICANN-discuss] Where we are with the two top jobs in Internet governance

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Tue Oct 18 12:59:24 SAST 2011

Where we are with the two top jobs in Internet governance
by Kieren McCarthy | 17 Oct 2011 |

The two top jobs in the Internet governance field are currently unfilled:
the CEO of ICANN, and the Executive Coordinator of the IGF. Here are updates
on both.

*ICANN CEO position*

Following the announcement on 16 August by current CEO Rod Beckstrom that he
would not continue past July 2012 (in reality, he was informed by the Board
that they would not
contract), there has been mounting speculation about who would replace

General consensus is that ICANN needs an 'insider' for the role given the
current problems the organization is facing. So it was with some interest
that the Board formally
this month that:

No current or incoming member of the Board or liaisons may be considered as
a candidate for the role of the CEO for the current CEO Selection process.

That rules out a number of potential candidates including Chris Disspain
(CEO, auDA and long-term head of the ccNSO), Cherine Chalaby (a management
consultant and favored by business) and Bruce Tonkin (Chief Strategy Officer
for Melbourne IT).

At its 11 October meeting, the Board finally approved a search committee for
the job with no less than eight Board members on it and former chair of
ICANN's Nominating Committee, George Sadowsky, chosen as its chair.

Board members have been sounding out members of the community for the past
two months about what skills are needed, and any potential candidates. The
Committee will outline its broad assumptions and conclusions at the ICANN
meeting later this month in Dakar, holding a special
session<http://dakar42.icann.org/node/26851>on Monday 24 October at
3pm local time where it will ask for feedback on the
process and selection criteria.

The Committee is expected to state that it will not rule anyone out i.e. you
don't have to be American, or an 'insider' or even possess all four limbs to
be considered. However, the current understanding is that whoever takes over
will have:

   - Excellent diplomatic skills
   - An excellent understanding of ICANN's role and its position in the
   Internet eco-system
   - Language skills i.e. be able to speak at least one language
   - Demonstrable management skills
   - Experience in dealing with governments

Applications haven't opened but ICANN being what it is, the place is already
abuzz with rumors about who will or will not apply. We must stress that none
of these are confirmed, but three names currently being put about as good
contenders are:

   - *Maarten Botterman*: Chairman of PIR, the registry operator for
   dot-org. Excellent tech and government credentials. Significant non-profit,
   policy and CEO experience. Multilingual.
   - *Lesley Cowley*: CEO of Nominet, the dot-uk registry operator and chair
   of the ccNSO. Excellent knowledge and understanding of ICANN and the
   Internet governance world. Well-known and respected.
   - *Paul Verhoef*: Head of research at the European Commission's transport
   division. Previously the ICANN VP of Europe, seconded from the EC. Hugely
   capable and respected. Fluent in four languages.

ICANN is looking to hire its new CEO as soon as possible, but it is equally
determined to take time to make the right choice this time around
(Beckstrom's poor fit was the result of a rushed selection process). Expect
the CEO Search Committee to open up applications in November.

*IGF Executive Coordinator job*

No less important in terms of Internet governance is the main coordinating
job of the Internet Governance Forum.

Following the unexpected exit of Markus Kummer after five years in the job
(ostensibly over UN retirement issues but in reality due to internal efforts
to undermine the
there was some controversy over the delayed posting of the Executive
Coordinator job, with a public complaint actually lodged by one country.

The delay, it is claimed, was due to UN procedures and bureaucracy
surrounding the need to approve a 12-month contract for a new position. In
reality, delaying the appointment was in the interests of Under
Secretary-General for UN DESA Sha Zukang, who made a determined effort to
scrap the IGF after efforts to turn it into more of an inter-governmental
body were thwarted.

On 28 June, the job was finally
applications closed a month later.

Between 80 and 90 applications were made - the majority from within the UN
system and coming from P5 positions. Of those, a shortlist of around 30 was
drawn up just prior to the recent IGF annual meeting in Nairobi.

Those will be further boiled down to 10 and then possibly five, at which
point a list and recommendation will be sent to the Secretary-General of the
United Nations to make a decision.

One name that won't be on the list unfortunately is the current de facto
Executive Coordinator Chengetai MasangoOne name that won't be on the list
unfortunately is the current de facto Executive Coordinator Chengetai
Masango. Due to UN rules, Chengetai is not able to apply because the
position is rated as D2, and you can only apply for a job a maximum of two
pay scales above you.

The UN scale is P1-P6, with P1 the most junior. Then there is D1 and D2 (P6
and D1 are effectively the same). And then Under-Secretary General.

There were eyebrows raised at putting the Executive Coordinator job at the
(very high) D2 level, which some have taken as a sign that the job will be
given to a long-term UN person and that the decision will be highly

We understand that a number of comparative outsiders to the UN in Geneva (or
in New York) have put their names forward and some have made it through to
the shortlist, but the expectation/concern is that only someone known to
Under-Secretary Sha Zukang will get the job, in effect giving it to someone
who does not have good multi-stakeholder credentials, and who may share
Zukang's preference for a more government-run Internet Governance Forum.

On the other hand, with the IGF seemingly solidifying its position at the
recent Nairobi meeting (attendance was nearly double what was expected), an
Executive Coordinator that is not known for, or capable of, dealing with a
multi-stakeholder environment could find themselves getting a rough ride.

Adding to that mix, there is an expectation of both race and gender equality
within the UN, especially with an IGF that finds capacity building and
development a sweet-spot topic (although much of politics takes place
outside that topic).

Whatever happens, the goal will be to have the role filled before the first
IGF preparatory meeting which typically takes place at the end of February,
pointing to a decision made early in January 2012.

As we hear more on both positions, we will keep you posted.
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