Executive Search Committee

President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN:

Position Description and Specifications

Christopher Mill & Partners of London have been retained by the Board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to identify candidates to succeed Michael Roberts as President and Chief Executive Officer. Inquiries, expressions of interest, and recommendations of possible candidates should be directed to exec-search@icann.org.

Background About ICANN

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is a non-profit, private sector corporation formed by a broad coalition of the Internet's business, technical, academic, and user communities. ICANN has been recognized by the U.S. Government as the global consensus entity to succeed the US Government-sponsored Internet Assigned Numbers Authority that for many years co-ordinated the technical management of the Internet's domain name system, the allocation of IP address space, the assignment of protocol parameters, and the management of the root server system.

ICANN is dedicated to preserving the operational stability of the Internet; to promoting competition; to achieving broad representation of the global Internet community; and to coordinating policy through private-sector, consensus-based means.

ICANN is a non-profit corporation with a 19-member volunteer Board of Directors. Its Board has worked to pave the way for a smooth and stable transition from the present technical management system, which has been authorized and funded by the US Government, to a new privatized international system. The Chairman and Directors have been drawn from a wide range of backgrounds and nations.

In early November 1999, ICANN's nine-member Initial Board was joined by nine newly-elected Directors chosen by ICANN's three supporting organizations:

  • The Domain Name Supporting Organization
  • The Address Supporting Organization
  • The Protocol Supporting Organization

which collectively represent a broad cross-section of the global Internet's business, technical, academic, and user communities. In addition, ICANN has recently launched its At Large Membership initiative, that will be responsible for choosing At-Large Directors to replace those on the Initial Board. By November 2000, the first round of At-Large elections will choose five At-Large Directors.

In the past, many of the essential technical coordination functions of the Internet were handled on an ad hoc basis by the U.S. government, its contractors and volunteers. This informal structure represented the spirit and culture of the research community in which the Internet developed. However, the growing international importance of the Internet has necessitated the creation of a technical management and policy development body that is both more formalized in structure, more accountable, and more fully reflective of the diversity of the world's Internet communities. Specifically, ICANN is responsible for co-ordination of the stable operation of the Internet in four key areas: the Domain Name System (DNS); the allocation of IP address space; the management of the root server system; and the co-ordination of protocol number assignment.

ICANN's mandate is not to "run the Internet." Rather, it is to co-ordinate the management of only those specific technical, managerial and policy development tasks that require central coordination -- the assignment of globally unique names, addresses, and protocol parameters as well as oversight of the procedures for populating the Domain Name System root server database.

ICANN has established its offices in Marina del Rey, California.  Further information about ICANN is available at www.icann.org.

The current President and CEO, Michael Roberts, agreed to hold the position in the start-up phase of ICANN and during the transition to the elected Board of Directors.  The Board is now seeking candidates to succeed him as President and CEO.

The Position

The CEO is accountable to the Chairman and Board of Directors for the effective and efficient operation of ICANN, and for conformity of ICANN’s operations with its Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation as well as with policies agreed by the Board.

Key elements of the position are:


  • Develops and documents ICANN’s strategic direction for the Board’s approval
  • Informs the Board of market, technology and regulatory issues and trends which may impact on ICANN’s goals
  • Develops for Board approval an annual operating plan and financial budget, taking into account the mechanisms by which funding is achieved

Leadership - external

  • With Board guidance, establishes ICANN’s position and articulates ICANN policies to the Internet community, governments, and international organizations
  • Becomes the recognised spokesperson at senior level on issues of importance to ICANN
  • Builds a positive image of ICANN in relevant media

Leadership - internal

  • Brings the organization to high and sustained standards of performance
  • Creates a work environment which attracts and retains appropriate talents
  • Ensures that the organisation deals with fairness, transparency and integrity with employees, Domain Name registrars, Internet Service Providers and other businesses dependent on the Internet, the Supporting Organizations, governments and the Internet community in general, most especially its users.


  • Establishes strong working relationships with the Board of Directors, especially its Chairman
  • Establishes good two way communication with the leadership of the Supporting Organizations
  • Establishes a government/international organizations program which wins influence and respect for ICANN


  • Staffs, trains and develops appropriately to meet ICANN’s goals
  • Ensures that there is clarity of objectives and focus for all employees
  • Ensures that there are clear and appropriate standards of performance, and measurement of those standards
  • Ensures that appropriate compensation and benefit programs are in place and administered properly


  • Develops and implements processes which will ensure the achievement of ICANN’s operational mission on time and within budget
  • Advises the Board about operational issues, and puts in place appropriate operational plans
  • Advises the Board about operational and organizational issues affecting the Supporting Organizations and ICANN’s relationship with them
  • Ensures that operations conform with the ICANN Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation and guidance provided by the Board


  • Recommends funding plans to the Board
  • Plans and manages ICANN revenue and expenditure
  • Ensures the transparency and integrity of financial reporting

The Ideal Candidate

The successful candidate is likely to have many if not all the qualities and experience outlined below, combined with an enthusiasm for ICANN’s purposes and the energy to achieve them.

  • Credibility to the Internet community and awareness of the history of the Internet and the many organizational entities that have influenced its development and/or are interested parties in its future evolution
  • Technical competence sufficient to detect bogus arguments in areas of relevance to ICANN’s charter (IP address space administration and domain name management); failing this, at least an ability to seek competent advice in the presence of technical controversy.  Awareness of technical trends in Internet development that might impact on ICANN’s work
  • A clear understanding of the political dynamics of achieving consensus on major ICANN issues and priorities, and of ICANN’s charter and mission
  • A good command of English, as this is the language of the Board of Directors and is commonly used in international discussions among participants in the Internet community
  • An established reputation for fairness
  • Willingness and ability to consider relocation to the existing headquarters of ICANN in Southern California
  • Evident leadership skills and ability to generate enthusiasm
  • The persistence, persuasion, intelligence, and evident personal integrity to develop and maintain consensus and the support of major stakeholders
  • An open personal style, resilience as a listener, patient without letting priorities slip
  • Extensive international experience and evident cross-cultural sensitivity and achievements
  • Strength as an advocate of new ideas
  • Self starting, but able to make good use of the experience and efforts of others
  • Strong administrative disciplines, backed by a history of delivering on commitments
  • A sharp sense of priority, an ability to discriminate signal from noise and to get to solutions quickly
  • Experience of working with a large and diverse board of directors, helping it to work effectively, and developing a rapport with its members
  • A happy and frequent traveller
  • Excellent references

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