ICANN Announces Sudden Resignation of President and CEO Göran Marby

ICANN Thursday announced the sudden resignation of Göran Marby, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective immediately. Sally Costerton has been named as Interim President and CEO while a search is undertaken for Marby’s replacement. No reason was given for Marby’s sudden decision to resign.

“On behalf of the Board I’d like to thank Göran for his leadership over the past six-and-a-half years. He served during a critical time in ICANN’s history,” said ICANN Board Chair Tripti Sinha in an ICANN announcement.

“He was instrumental in leading ICANN organisation (org) through the final phase of the IANA stewardship transition from the U.S. Government and in setting a solid vision for ICANN’s next chapter. He also championed ICANN’s efforts to serve the Internet users of the world through the creation of the DNS Security Facilitation Initiative Technical Study Group and Domain Abuse Activity Reporting project to mitigate threats to the Domain Name System, as well as the Coalition for Digital Africa to bring together like-minded partners to expand the Internet in Africa.”

Among Marby’s many notable achievements as listed by ICANN in their announcement:

  • Leading ICANN through the COVID-19 global pandemic for which there was no roadmap.
  • Strengthening and evolving the ICANN org culture, resulting in 90% positive engagement survey responses across the staff in 2022.
  • Creating the Operational Design Phase – a mechanism to perform an assessment of Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council policy recommendations to provide the Board with relevant information for its deliberations on whether to approve said recommendations. 
  • Championing efforts to monitor and mitigate DNS security threats.
  • Successfully engaging with governments around the world to protect ICANN and gain independence to create policies.
  • Creating initiatives to provide greater access to the Internet for users around the world.

At the request of the Board, Marby will be available to consult with ICANN until May 23, 2024, to support the transition to a new leader, as well as to advise the Board on any issue they require.

“I’m extremely proud of the work we have done together with the ICANN community and Board.

Whether it is an indication for the reasons given, or just part of the announcement of Marby’s resignation, Marby indicated that there are several “critical initiatives” requiring long-term initiatives that requires require “leadership continuity”.

“ICANN org has designed the implementation strategies for several critical initiatives that will shape the future for ICANN and the Internet users of the world,” said Marby. “I am also keenly aware that these are long-term initiatives for which leadership continuity is essential. The next President and CEO will shepherd the next phase of this work.” The ICANN Board will convene its search for a new CEO at the start of 2023. Sally Costerton, ICANN Senior Advisor to the President and Senior Vice President, Global Stakeholder Engagement, has been named as Interim President and CEO. “I’m grateful to Sally for agreeing to take on this extra assignment to provide continuity and leadership,” noted Sinha.

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