Egyptian Chehadé takes over at ICANN earlier than announced, names team

In a surprising announcement, Fadi Chehadé has assumed his role as CEO at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) two weeks earlier than expected.

He takes over from Akram Atallah who had been serving as the interim CEO. Atallah will now return to assume his role as the organisation’s chief operation officer.

It has been disclosed by neither ICANN nor Chehadé as to why it was necessary for him to take over before the October 1 date originally set in June.

At an ICANN staff meeting on Friday, the new CEO thanked Atallah for holding the position in the interim and went on to make some pronouncements regarding the organisation’s future.

“I have spent the past two months asking myself and many others from all over the Internet community worldwide the same questions,” Chehadésaid.

“How can ICANN work better with its stakeholders to bring all interested parties to the table to debate and agree how to improve the DNS? How can we ensure that all global citizens can share an open Internet which is sustainable and resilient?”

Chehade’s strategy puts ICANN’s stakeholders at its heart. The organisation’s staff will be brought together in collaborative teams organised in a global matrix that distributes key functions and leaders across the world to accelerate effective engagement.

Chehadé’s leadership team combines deep ICANN experience with fresh perspectives from international executives. Among the changes he announced today are:

* Akram Atallah’s role will be expanded to include oversight of Registry and Registrar Services, the new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) program, Security and other important activities.

* Tarek Kamel, Senior Advisor to the President of ICANN, who currently leads the development of an African strategy, will assume the role of Senior Advisor for Government Affairs, leading all aspects of Government Engagement.

* Sally Costerton, most recently CEO of Hill and Knowlton Public Relations for Europe, the Middle East and Asia has been tapped to lead the new position of Stakeholder Engagement, a role that will incorporate the communications function.

Both Costerton and Kamel will be based in ICANN’s European region and will report directly to the CEO. Their goal is to strengthen ICANN’s international engagement at all levels, and to implement the global matrix alongside ICANN’s regional vice presidents.

Chehadé said his other direct reports would include:

* Kurt Pritz, Senior Vice President, who will take on a new role as Chief of Strategy.

* John Jeffrey, General Counsel and Secretary of the ICANN Board, who will continue in his role.

* David Olive, Vice President of Policy, who will also continue in his current role.

In a further organisational development, Chehadé announced that Maguy Serad, Senior Director of Contractual Compliance, will be promoted to Vice President of Contractual Compliance, with her department reporting directly to the CEO.

“I’ve spent the summer putting the right team in place – looking deep within ICANN and beyond to find the best mix of talents to help me to fulfill ICANN’s mission,” said Chehadé.

“Frankly I am impressed and humbled by what these diverse leaders bring to the table. I’ve been fortunate to have great support from the ICANN Board as well as the staff and I know that we will be able to build upon the organization’s many achievements.”

Dr. Stephen Crocker, ICANN Board Chair, said: “The Board has consulted extensively with Fadi through the past couple of months and has spent this week in session with him and his leadership team reviewing his plans.”

He added that the board was “very supportive and will do everything it can to help the ICANN team deliver successfully.”

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