ICANN Announces Leadership and Responsibility Changes

ICANN Thursday announced a number of leadership changes in a blog post by President and CEO Göran Marby.

The first change was Theresa Swinehart, Senior Vice President of Multistakeholder Strategy and Strategic Initiatives (MSSI) and Marby’s co-deputy, will assume permanent leadership of the Global Domains Division (GDD). This is in addition to her leadership of MSSI and co-deputy role.

Marby writes he made this change to help centralise and improve support to the ICANN community and stakeholders. Both GDD and MSSI serve the community and address subject areas that bridge policy, review recommendations, strategy, and specific initiatives impacting stakeholders.

MSSI is responsible for several areas including: running reviews and a range of strategic initiatives we work on with the community (such as General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR], the evolution of the multistakeholder model, and the Cross-Community Working Group on Enhancing ICANN Accountability, Work Stream 2 [WS2]).

The role of GDD includes working with the contracted parties, along with other cross-functional areas of work (including GDPR and several review recommendations under implementation).

By increasing the coordination and integration between GDD and MSSI, Marby writes the organisation can better leverage natural synergies and efficiencies, ensure coordination with relevant policy implementation, and better support stakeholders and the community.

Marby also announced that with mixed emotions Susanna Bennett, Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer will be leaving ICANN on 1 July after seven years with the organisation.

During her tenure, Marby outlines Bennett’s achievements, leading several major initiatives, including forming the Security Operations team, launching the Accountability Indicators platform, evolving Board Operations and enhancing support to the ICANN Board, launching the Open Data Program and helping lead the development of the 2021-2025 Operating and Financial Plan and the FY21 Operating Plan and Budget. Marby says ICANN has been fortunate to have Bennett’s leadership and he’s particularly grateful to her for the wisdom, calm, and expert advice she has provided to him over the years.

These changes have precipitated more changes. With Bennett’s departure, her activities and teams previously under the Operations function have been distributed to make better use of resources and increase collaboration.

There will also be a new Planning Department to be headed by Xavier Calvez, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. This new department brings together the strategic planning and trends work previously led by MSSI with operating and budget planning. This change will allow ICANN to streamline the planning process, improve collaboration at the planning stage within the organisation and across the community and help us prioritise activities in the mid and long term.

Risk Management will also become part of Calvez’s responsibilities to help ICANN make informed decisions about risks facing the organisation. Another role to come under Calvez’s management is to manage the many recommendations resulting from current ICANN Reviews.

Another change is Security Operations will now report to Gina Villavicencio, Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources because of the natural synergy between security operations and our facilities and safety teams.

And lastly Marby writes Board Operations, which is the organisation’s support function to the ICANN Board of Directors is moving back under John Jeffrey, General Counsel and Secretary. This is consistent with his role as my co-deputy and as the Board’s Secretary.

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