DENIC Announces German Domain Industry Veteran Thomas Keller As Jörg Schweiger’s Exec Board Replacement

Thomas Keller has been announced as the replacement of Dr. Jörg Schweiger as one of the two full-time members on DENIC’s Cooperative’s Executive Board, commencing on 1 January 2022. Schweiger, the current CEO, announced in December 2020 he will step down on 31 December 2021.

While Wednesday’s DENIC announcement doesn’t say who will replace Schweiger as CEO, given there are only two full-time members of DENIC’s Executive Board one would assume it would be Keller (most likely) or current Chief Operating Officer Andreas Musielak who continues to sit on the Executive Board as a full-time member, and Martin Küchenthal and Sebastian Röthler also remain honorary.

In their announcement, DENIC says Keller has many years of experience and expertise in the international domain industry. He has been Director Domain Services at 1&1 IONOS SE, a company he has built up and been responsible for the domain business of Europe’s largest Internet service provider since 1997. In this position he has also established good connections with ICANN, where he represented the European registrars in ICANN’s sub-organisation GNSO (Generic Names Supporting Organization) from 2003 to 2008. Thomas Keller already is well familiar with the special characteristics and challenges of DENIC eG as the manager of the German namespace on the Internet (.de) from the perspective of the DENIC Supervisory Board, of which he was a member from 2007 to May 2021, holding the position of chair since 2013.

Dr. Jörg Schweiger has been a member of the DENIC Executive Board since 2007 when he commenced as Chief Technology Officer. In this role, he was in charge of the functional divisions Technology, Information Security and Research as well as Public Relations and Government and Regulatory Affairs. He has represented DENIC eG in multiple national and international expert bodies and committees.

Speaking to me earlier this week about his 14 years at DENIC and his accomplishments, Schweiger noted how “security and governance took a huge amount of my attention and led to globally distributed, redundant data centres, ISO 27001 ff and BCM 22301 certifications, as well as classification of Germany’s ccTLD as critical infrastructure.”

Looking forward, Schweiger said challenges remain for the German ccTLD manager and undoubtedly will be issues Keller and the rest of the DENIC team tackle. These included “NIS 2, the further implementation of the GDPR, for example (automated) access for groups with legitimate interest, as well as the current discussion about registration data accuracy and completeness, the challenges pertaining to security and regulation will continue to be demanding.”

The Chairman of the DENIC Supervisory Board, Dr. Johannes Loxen, expressed his thanks in the name of the Cooperative to the Executive Board member Dr. Jörg Schweiger and welcomed his successor.

DENIC’s 2019 Supervisory Board with Thomas Keller second from left

“I am pleased that with Tom Keller we were able to win an experienced member of the domain industry for DENIC. He will seamlessly continue the successful work of Jörg Schweiger.”

The new member to the Executive Board Thomas Keller expressed his joy at his future challenge as part of the management of DENIC eG.

“I am looking forward very much to my new role and am very pleased about the clear vote of the members. The cooperative model is something very special and I am proud to be actively involved in shaping the further development of DENIC.”

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