A brief bit of context. When Paul Twomey was let go as CEO, the Peter Dengate-Thrush dominated Board selected Rod Beckstrom as the new CEO. I didn't think the choice prudent, as Rod was a failed Bush-Regime Intelligence Community "cyber-security czar" with no other exposure to the fundamental issue of de-monopolization and cooperative policy development by a body with "no statutory authority". As CEO Beckstrom promptly caused the departure of David Conrad from the IANA, and others, and added some other high profile security deadwood, similarly lacking domain specific industry clue.
In a separate post I'll review the NTIA's NOI concerning the IANA contract, his letter, and mine [link pending]. I was not surprised, but I was pleased, when I learned that his contract would not be renewed at the end of the current contract period. The ICANN announcements of Rob Beckstrom's departure is [link pending] and [link pending].
Subject: One contributor's views to the ICANN Search Committee for a Chief Executive Officer
Dear Search Committee Members,
I write to share with you my views on the search for a new CEO.
First, ICANN is not a for-profit entity, nor is work at ICANN part of a revolving-door to work at other for-profit entities. We should be looking at the non-profits and NGOs which have some similarities to ICANN for where our senior staff comes from. The executive management task is moderate -- a head-count of approximately 100, mostly in Marina del Rey, and distributed in a few locations. The technical exoticia of the position is quite limited and adequate staff support is available to support the external communications function.
The real importance, in my view, after the internal line management responsibility, is the cultivation of institutional relations with an eye towards the long-term -- the institutional permanence of end-point identifier uniqueness coordination with the other actors, from the RIRs to the major operators of overlapping namespaces, starting with the PRC.
To sum these two inter-related points -- the better applicants will not be predisposed to favor the continued capture of ICANN as an agency of governance by the legacy incumbent monopoly operator, or the larger set of actors pursuing for-profit goals in the content or connectivity market, and they will prioritize cooperation and long-term enlightened interdependence with similar entities with similar agency capabilities.
Next, in my view, the internal managerial functions of the CEO and the external relationship cultivation functions of the President are distinct, and not necessarily unified as a single role, nor likely to be executed equitably by any individual having more interest and experience in one, but not both, functional responsibilities.
Next, and here I'm reiterating my comments to earlier NomCom interviewers in the context of selection for the Board, your choices should not be limited to individuals who are litigation-adverse. Many parties, first and foremost, Verisign, are not litigation-adverse.
When ICANN implements policies consistent with the competition policy goals of the United States expressed in the Green and White Papers, or when ICANN implements policies consistent with the experiment and development policy goals of the United States, also expressed in the Green and White Papers, parties who's interests are the preservation of the status quo are likely to litigate.
The point I am not trying to make is that the better candidates will be from the Common Law legal culture, but that the better candidates will have an awareness of where the controlling venue actually is located, and what the rules of engagement actually are, and will be able to distinguish between claims based upon the Federal Administrative Practices Act of 1946 and claims based upon wishful thinking about multi-stakeholder-isms and a body of International Law that doesn't actually exist yet.
Finally, I recommend that the Board seek applicants who love the job, not the perqs -- we need applicants who consider the tasks of carefully, with minimal disruption, leading the corporation in the disentanglement of Verisign from its legacy role as the single-source, one-time competitive contractor, and constructively interact with the staff and the non-commercial community and end the stasis forced by actors pursuing the status quo.
I hope this finds you all well, and I wish you the best of luck in a very important process. In a separate note I'll offer the names of some individuals I think would be worth consideration.
Ithaca, New York and Monterey, California