ICANN Board Changes Sees Europeans To Hold Chair and CEO Positions

Maarten Botterman has been selected as the next Chair of the ICANN Board, the current Chair Cherine Chalaby announced in a post on the ICANN blog Monday, while León Felipe Sánchez Ambia has been selected Vice Chair. It means both the CEO and President, the Swedish Göran Marby, and Chair will be citizens of the European Union.

The selection follows the process outlined in the Board Governance Committee Practice for Board Engagement in Developing Slate for Board Leadership. Chalaby writes he’s “proud to welcome Maarten as my successor, and look forward to supporting him and working with him toward a smooth transition.”

“I’m also pleased to announce that León Felipe Sánchez Ambia has been selected Vice Chair. Many congratulations to León as he takes on this important role.”

They will take up their positions following a formal election that will take place at the Annual Meeting at ICANN66 in Montréal. “Our advance planning for the transfer of those responsibilities will support continuity in ICANN’s service of its mission.”

The Dutch Maarten Botterman, according to the ICANN website, has an extensive background as am independent strategic advisor on Internet Governance and related issues with 25+ year experience in guiding governments and major organisations on the economic/business and societal impacts of current and future internet innovations and technologies. He has participated and led more than 50 international projects and studies for governments and industry on Future Net issues with teams including experts with advanced academic degrees from many disciplines ranging from technology and mathematics to economics and law, and from many different countries and cultures.

From 1987 to 2006 Botterman worked for the Dutch Government, as Scientific Officer to the Communications Technology Research program that was run by the European Commission and for the RAND Corporation setting up and running an Information Society policy practice in Europe. Since then he’s worked as am independent strategic advisor to governments and businesses in close cooperation with leading independent research institutions in Europe (including RAND Europe, TNO Netherlands, DTI Danmark, and Inno France).

Next to advising the Dutch government and the European Commission on Internet Governance issues he got deeply involved in the ICANN work as Board Member and Chairman of the Public Interest Registry (2008 – 2016). Botterman holds an advanced degree in business economics from Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Botterman was selected by the Nominating Committee to serve on the Board and his term will expire at the Annual General Meeting 2019.

León Felipe Sánchez Ambía is an intellectual property attorney who graduated from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). According to the ICANN website, he also completed his postgraduate studies on intellectual property at the UNAM and Internet law at Harvard Law School.

Since 2006, he has been a partner at Fulton & Fulton, a law firm specialising in intellectual property and IT law based in Mexico City, and is the head of their Intellectual Property division. In 2008, he was admitted as professor on intellectual property at the UNAM law school.

Sanchez also serves as the co-lead for the Mexican chapter of Creative Commons, and as an advisor to different government bodies, including the Digital Strategy Coordination Office of the Mexican Presidency, the Special Commission on Digital Agenda and IT of the Mexican House of Representatives, and the Science and Technology Commission of the Mexican Senate.

Sanchez drafted the Internet Users Rights Protection Act for Mexico, and has been very active on issues such as the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA), Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and other local initiatives of the same kind, always advocating to defend users’ and creators’ rights in order to achieve a balance between regulation and freedom.

He was selected by the At-Large Community as the successor of Rinalia Abdul Rahim and began his three-year term as an ICANN Board Director at the end of ICANN60 in November 2017.

With the upcoming changes, it was announced current Vice Chair Chris Disspain has stepped down from that role. In the interim, Chalaby writes he will ask the Board to appoint Botterman to serve as Vice Chair until he becomes Board Chair.

“I want to thank Chris for his partnership as my Vice Chair over the past two years. His knowledge and skills will remain a great asset to the Board over the next year.”

Other candidates for Chair were Chris Disspain and Ron da Silva; the other candidate for Vice Chair was Becky Burr.

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