ICANN meeting: Chehade takes the reins

17-07-2012

During the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) conference in Prague in June 2012 Fadi Chehade introduced himself as the organisation’s new chief executive and set out his priorities.

Chehade, a former general manager at IBM and CEO of various technology companies, praised ICANN for its generosity and highlighted the role of the Internet in the Arab spring. “It is the greatest public gift,” he said. 

Chehade, who replaces Rod Beckstrom as CEO, promised that he would “build consensus”. “Inclusion starts by stepping out of the organisation and looking at it from the outside, not being inside and seeing everything our way,” he said. 

He highlighted two particular areas which ICANN needs to focus on. “ICANN is an international organisation and we must strive to make it international,” he said, emphasising that international is not just a buzzword but should mean real engagement with stakeholders from around the world. 

Second, he underlined that ICANN works under different pressures from different organisations, and is under more pressure to excel as a result. “We must be expected to do five times better, 10 times better than the commercial world,” he said. “This is critical to who we are.” And with the expansion of the Internet in the form of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), this excellence is even more important. 

He finished his speech with three key pledges: 
“Number one, I will listen; I will listen to all of you. We may not always agree, and we shouldn't. This is what the model is. But I will listen. 

“Number two, I will be very transparent, super transparent. Is there a bigger word? Extra transparent.”

“And, lastly, I will make all my decisions for the public interest.” 

It was a welcome message.

This article was first published on 18 July 2012 in World IP Review

ICANN, Fadi Chehade, IBM, gTLDs, new CEO

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