Ethos Capital announced Thursday it has completed an investment to acquire a controlling interest of Donuts Inc. from Abry Partners. Based in Seattle, Washington, Donuts holds the world’s largest portfolio of top-level domains with 260 new gTLDs as well as providing registry services for a number of other top-level domains (both gTLDs and ccTLDs) through both its Donuts and Afilias brands.
Donuts has announced their co-founder Jon Nevett is stepping down from his role as executive vice president of corporate affairs following the appointment of their new CEO Akram Atallah who is expected to commence in November.
In an announcement, Donuts note that Nevett will remain as a close advisor to the company having had had a tremendous, positive impact on Donuts since the companyâs inception.
As one of four Donuts co-founders and a domain industry veteran, Nevett was essential to Donuts in the new gTLD contention resolution process, enabling Donuts to secure 198 domains before their purchase of Rightside. In addition to business development at various times, Nevett managed Donutsâ legal, policy and HR teams.
Today Donuts manages 238 new gTLDs, or one in 5, and has 4.151 million domain names under management, accounting for 16.1% of all new gTLD domain names. Their 5 largest new gTLDs all have more than 100,000 domain name registrations: .ltd (572,500), .live (228,900), .life (187,700), .world (105,900) and .today (103,200).
In their statement lauding Nevettâs achievements, Donuts say Jon is a nationally recognised authority on Internet and DNS policy and has played a pivotal role in this industry for nearly two decades. He is a founding board member of the industryâs trade association, the Domain Name Association. Before co-founding Donuts, Jon was senior vice president at Network Solutions and chair of the boards of NameJet and Central Registry Solutions. Jon has been deeply involved in ICANN task forces, working groups, and panels. Jon worked closely with Donuts CEO Akram Atallah during Akramâs ICANN tenure and he looks forward to continued collaboration with Akram at Donuts.
They go on to say Jon currently serves on the ICANN Nominating Committee and the Registries Stakeholder Groupâs Executive Committee. His contributions to the new domain name industry and to ICANN have been extensive. For example, Jon helped form and served as the first chair of the New gTLD Applicant Group (NTAG) and was elected to three terms as chair of the ICANN Registrar Constituency. He was a member of ICANNâs IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG), which steered the move of this function to the global multi-stakeholder community.
Jon has leveraged his expertise in protecting trademarks as a member of the ICANN Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT), the Special Trademark Issue team (STI), and the International Trademark Associationâs Internet Committee. In 2009, Jon was appointed to the U.S. Department of Commerceâs Online Safety and Technology Working Group related to issues of child safety and the Internet. Jon received his undergraduate degree from Binghamton University and his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.
Akram Attallah, ICANNâs second in charge and President of the Global Domains Division has resigned, effectively immediately, and will be taking up a position as CEO of Donuts, where his former boss at ICANN, Fadi ChehadÃ©, is a partner. Attallah will be replacing Bruce Jaffe who is stepping down and taking on a role as a senior advisor to the company during the transition. Attallah commences with Donuts on 12 November.
Donuts is the largest new generic top level domain operator by the number of new gTLDs with 238 and second by the number of domains under management (4.1 million). In his 8 years with ICANN Attallah was a key person overseeing the introduction of new gTLDs.
âAkram made many, significant contributions to ICANN in a variety of roles, including as Chief Operating Officer, Interim President & CEO, and as the first President of the Global Domains Division,â said GÃ¶ran Marby, President & CEO of ICANN in a statement. âPersonally, I will miss his advice and his friendship, and I want to thank him for all he did in supporting me when I joined ICANN.â
ICANN will be recruiting a replacement for Attallah, whose last day was 9 October, but in the meantime Marby said he has âasked Cyrus Namazi, VP, DNS Industry Engagement, Global Domains Division, to serve as interim department head for the Global Domains Division, to help ensure a smooth transition. David Conrad, Chief Technology Officer, will provide executive support of the IANA team in the interim.â
âWe thank Bruce for his stewardship of Donuts, during which in his tenure as president and chief executive officer, the company raised over $100 million in debt financing to acquire Rightside, and successfully engaged in a process to sell Donuts to Abry Partners,â said Erik Brooks, managing partner at Abry Partners and Donuts board member in a statement. Abry Partners acquired Donuts in September this year and the move could be seen as one of the first major changes Abry is making since its takeover. Attallah and Abry partner Fadi ChehadÃ©, who was ICANN CEO & President prior to Marby, have a history working together, both prior to and at ICANN.
âWe are delighted to welcome Akram to Donuts,â Erik continued. âHis deep experience in managing global organisations and rapidly-growing technology companies will be essential to driving Donutsâ next phase of growth. We are confident that Akramâs proven track record in and outside the domain name industry will broaden Donutsâ reputation as the innovative industry platform for new top-level domains and will enable the company to pursue rapid growth along multiple pathways.â
âI am thrilled to join the Donuts team,â said Akram Atallah. âI relish the challenge of further expanding overall awareness of the companyâs incredible top-level domain (TLD) assets, discovering new ways to use and leverage TLDs, and through its growth and success making Donuts a recognised, global innovation platform for people and organisations to create and manage their digital identities.â
Akramâs diversified technology experience runs the gamut from engineering to operations to product development and marketing. Before ICANN, he was chief operation officer at CoreObjects Software, an engineering services start-up. Prior to CoreObjects, he was general manager of the Broadband Access business unit at Conexant, and before that was the general manager of its Universal Access business, where he grew it to more than $800 million in revenues. His accomplishments at Conexant also included improved profit margins, transforming the marketing and engineering functions, and restoring its global market leadership position.