Nominet members have elected one of its leadership’s sharpest critics to the board in a divisive election that some feared could jeopardise the not-for-profit UK domain registry’s future in its current form.
One such member is Jim Davies, a solicitor who the board had taken the extraordinary step of asking members to vote against. He was elected yesterday as a non-executive director. He has been a vocal opponent of the way Nominet adminsters domain disputes, including its recent myspace.co.uk decision, which was overturned this week by an independent appeals panel.
Gordon Dick, who the company did not lobby against, was reelected to the non-executive position he has held since 2004.
Also at its AGM in London yesterday, the executive failed to pass changes to the Nominet constitution that would have granted it powers to appoint two unelected board members. “Special resolution 6” was approved by about 60 per cent of voters, short of the 75 per cent required. A series of other special resolutions were all passed near-unanimously.
Turnout was slightly higher than at recent elections, but still poor at just over 15 per cent.
Davies was one of three candidates who were against special resolution 6. The board argued that the change was essential to ensure that the board is qualified to govern the company and so told members to approve it. Chief executive Lesley Cowley also said that the existing board structure, together with low turnouts, makes Nominet “vulnerable to capture” by parties that might act in their own interests rather than those of the 3,000 members.
The question of what to do with Nominet’s Â£15m surplus loomed large over the election. With the election of Davies, the long-running row over whether to reduce prices for .co.uk web addresses looks set to intensify.
Critics charged that special resolution 6 was a power grab that would effectively mean Nominet would be controlled by unelected directors.
Emily Taylor, Nominet’s legal and policy director emphasised today that the members’ wishes will be respected. “It’s not a question of disappointment…we have to listen to the members,” she said.
Further information : http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05/02/nominet_election_result_2008/