By Gerard Best
LIMA, Peru—The head of the non-profit group that oversees all Internet addresses will step down in March 2016.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) President and CEO Fadi Chehadé sent notice to the board on May 21 telling them that he would leave after an annual meeting to be held in Morocco in March.
Hours after the news broke on Agence France Presse (AFP), Chehadé addressed representatives of the regional Internet community gathered in Lima for an annual conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC).
He said that during the remaining 10 months of his tenure, ICANN would redouble efforts to give greater power to the global, multistakeholder Internet community of governments, businesses, organisations and users, so that no single entity would have the authority to determine the future of the Internet.
Chehadé has been overseeing ICANN’s transition away from the longstanding US-centred arrangement toward a more global oversight of ICANN’s core responsibility for the Internet.
Chehadé had earlier commended the ICANN staff for moving the organisation from a predominantly US-based operation to a global institution with offices and relationships spread around the world.
At stake in the transition process is the control of a vital stake in the rapidly growing global digital economy, which could exceed 4.2 trillion US dollars by 2016, according to a Boston Consulting Group study.
“As the digital economy grows, the pressure to take control of things will grow as well, and it is incumbent upon us to show that we are prepared and mature and ready,” he said.
For the last 25 years, ICANN has been contracted by the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration to manage the assignment of Internet names and numbers globally. That collection of responsibilities is referred to as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) stewardship function.
Chehadé’s resignation will take effect shortly after the US government receives a plan to implement the transition of the IANA stewardship function to Icann and the global Internet community, including Regional Internet Registries such as LACNIC. A release from ICANN said Chehadé would remain available to support the transition to a new leader after March 2016 as well as to advise the board on the IANA transition.
“I am deeply committed to working with the board, our staff, and our community to continue ICANN’s mission as we still have much to accomplish,” Chehadé told AFP.
“I think this is the right time and the right thing to do.”
Chehadé has also also overseen the launch of new top-level domains, such as .google and .cricket. That process that has increased ICANN revenues under his tenure and brought the operations of the nonprofit agency under heightened global scrutiny.
Chehadé said he has accepted a job in the private sector, outside of the domain name space which ICANN supervises. He said he would disclose the name of his new employer later this year.