Author: Kieren McCarthy

Kieren McCarthy is an acknowledged authority on the Internet and Internet governance. He has written extensively about both for a wide range of national and international newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, The Sunday Times, New Scientist, The Register, PC Week, Techworld, and others.

An engineer by training, Kieren has spent more than 10 years as an IT journalist and has, at some point interviewed, just about everybody in the Internet industry. The official blogger for both the inaugural Internet Governance Forum and an OECD conference on the Participative Web, and author of the book, he was also ICANN’s General Manager of Public Participation, tasked with coordinating communication between the organization and Internet users for three years.

He is CEO of .Nxt. Inc, and created both the company and the conference to provide a space for positive information-sharing about the future of the Internet's infrastructure.

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12 October 2012

Whaddaya take for this old dot-nag?

Seven of the 1,930 applications for new Internet extensions have been withdrawn so far, leaving each applicant with a bill of $55,000.

Six of the withdrawals have been made public, including three brands and three seemingly generic names that are reserved for country-only use. Details of the seventh withdrawal will be made public when ICANN has refunded $130,000 of the $185,000 application fee.

The three brands are: Rogers Communications' Chatr budget mobile service; Eli Lily's Cialis impotence drug; and pump manufacturer KSB, applying for its own name. So far, none of the company have offered an explanation for why they withdrew.

14 September 2012

Over the course of the next three years, ICANN's new CEO Fadi Chehade is going to have plenty of moments that will test him. But on his first official day in the office - today - he has good reason to feel optimistic.

ICANN's 140 staff and 21-member Board are this morning gathered at the organization's headquarters in Culver City, Los Angeles, to hear their new leader tell them how he is going to turn around an organization that has never looked so lost.

He has some aces up his sleeve.

Coming on board as the head of all things communication and with a mandate to greatly improve relations with the broader Internet community is Sally Costerton, a PR professional with a CV that would impress the Fortune 500.

Also lined up is Tarek Kamel, one of the most respected government voices on the Internet and someone who can reach out to people in the corridors of power across the globe: people who wouldn't normally even take a phonecall from an ICANN representative.

14 September 2012

Senior management restructure to fix organizational weaknesses

Fadi Chehade (left) and new hires Sally Costerton and Tarek Kamel

ICANN's new CEO Fadi Chehade has embarked on a bold restructure of the organization's management on his first day in the job.

Announcing two new senior management members - Sally Costerton as head of stakeholder relations and communications and Tarek Kamel as head of governmental affairs - Chehade told .Nxt his focus was on engaging at a global level with stakeholders, building relationships and improving accountability.

On top of the two new hires, Chehade has made significant structural changes: he has pulled compliance out from under the general counsel's office; put registrar and registry functions under the chief operating officer; elevated the policy department to a direct report; and shifted senior VP Kurt Pritz into a new strategy office.

5 September 2012

A management cull has begun at ICANN to remove under-performing executives hired by former CEO Rod Beckstrom.

Vice president of communications Barbara Ann Clay announced to staff earlier this week that she had resigned, and vice president of organizational effectiveness, Elad Levinson, is also leaving with immediate effect.

Although new CEO Fadi Chehade has yet to formally start, the firings represent his first actions at an organizational level and come one week before the ICANN Board holds a two-day retreat in Los Angeles. Board members are expected to press on staff changes and ask Chehade what his plans are to strengthen the organization.

As well as Clay and Levinson, a number of other Beckstrom hires could soon be given their marching orders and we understand some pre-Beckstrom executives are also under review. See our rundown below for more information.


10 July 2012

ICANN's COO and acting CEO talks TAS, digital archery, his old friend the new CEO and how he will make the organization function better

Akram Atallah: ICANN needs to raise itself to the next level. Photo: ICANN

Akram Atallah has had a rough couple of years. When he was brought in as Chief Operating Officer for ICANN in September 2010, the organization was getting used to a new CEO and had just lost its CFO as well as a number of other key executive positions.

Just two months later an independent report into the organization's accountability and transparency recommended a number of significant operational changes. Four months after that, the organization's Board approved the rules for its largest ever project - the introduction of thousands of new Internet extensions - but left a significant number of operational issues undecided.

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