Paul Twomey, ICANN CEO & President, to Resign

Paul Twomey imagePaul Twomey, ICANN’s CEO and President, has publicly announced at the opening session of ICANN’s 34th International Public Meeting in Mexico City, which has drawn more than 1,200 attendees from all over the world, that he will not be seeking to renew his contract for another three years when it comes up for renewal July 1, 2009.
“Last year, I told the Board that I did not want to renew my contract as President and CEO for another 3 year term,” said Twomey. “While I am deeply and personally committed to ICANN and its success, I think this is the right time for me to move on to another leadership position in the private or international sectors.”
Twomey said he thought it was the right time for him to seek another senior leadership position, but that also if he was to renew his contract it would mean he would be head of ICANN for a total of ten years. And Twomey thinks ten years at the head of any organisation is not healthy.
Twomey was named CEO and President in 2003, after serving, for 4 years, as the Chairman of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). He oversaw the phenomenal growth of an organization that has become the primary coordinator of the Internet’s global address system.
“I’m delighted to have taken part in building ICANN’s role in assuring a stable and secure Internet,” said Twomey. “The Board has asked me to stay on after it appoints a successor to have a period of handover with the new appointee. During this transition period I shall be appointed to the new position of Senior President.”
“Paul Twomey has made an extraordinary contribution to ICANN” said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of the Board. “He was involved in its set up, helped establish the role of governments in his term as founding chair of the GAC, and then was its longest serving CEO. He guided the organization through the World Summit on the Information Society in 2005 and has been one of the strongest and most persuasive advocates for the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance”
While ICANN searches for a replacement, and to assist with the handover, Twomey has agreed to stay on till December 2009, ensuring there is a smooth transition. And as Dengate Thrush said, to assist in his replacement learning the ICANN “alphabet soup of acronyms.”
Twomey’s announcement comes at a key stage in the evolution of the domain name system, with important decisions pending on the launch of the new generic Top Level Domain application process, DNSSEC and the introduction of Internationalised Domain Names.
Dengate Thrush said the board was delighted to be able to retain Twomey’s unique skills until the end of the year. “This is a momentous year for ICANN, and it is good that we will be able to continue with business as usual. ”
Twomey agreed his announcement will not be a distraction from ICANN’s ongoing work and its international meeting being held this week in Mexico.
“I’m looking forward to this week’s discussions on a range of issues that will affect current Internet users and the billions still to come” he said.
Commenting on Twomey’s resignation, Vint Cerf, known as the Father of the Internet and 8 year Chairman of the ICANN Board said “I can think of no other person who has had more influence on the course of ICANN’s evolution than Paul. We owe him a great debt for long and faithful service and I owe him personal thanks for his counsel during my time on the Board. The Board will be challenged to find a worthy and capable successor.”
Lynn St Amour, the CEO of the Internet Society (ISOC) commented “During his tenure, ICANN has become a stronger organization and, as a key element of the Internet ecosystem, has ensured the security and stability of the Domain Name System. The Internet Society extends its appreciation to Dr. Twomey for his service and dedication to ICANN and its communities. We look forward to working with him on major issues over the remainder of this year” she said.
Egypt’s Minister of Information and Communications, Tarek Kamel also thanked Twomey for his many contributions.
“We were happy in Egypt and the developing world to work together with an outstanding person like Paul Twomey in Internet Governance issues. He was always trying to bring some balance to the global Internet policy dialogue,” said Kamel. “Egypt was also delighted to host successful ICANN meetings during his term. We thank him for his contributions and wish him further luck in his career.”