This is a workspace for the At-Large community to discuss selection criteria for the future ICANN CEO. At-Large members' comments in the thread on ALAC mailing list are posted via the comment function on this page. 

CEO Profile from CEO Search in 2011 

Candidates will be expected to demonstrate to the highest degree possible the following experience and skills. These have been grouped under 4 headings that embody the multi-faceted nature of the role:


§ Solid record of either/or public, corporate, academic service, at a high international level

§ Global exposure: experience of working in different countries or with different cultures

§ Experience in managing process work flows and ability to anticipate issues

§ Close familiarity with the ways in which civil society, business sector interests and regulatory authorities interact

§ Success in managing ICANN’s evolution as an organization, complex issues and programs, and key contracts

§ Track record of achieving results, not just ‘being there’

§ Previous association with highly respected organizations

§ Leadership of dispersed international teams and active multi-stakeholders that provide policy input


§ Consensus builder and catalyst, a motivator and persuader

§ Intellectually engaging, contributes to ‘thought leadership’ in helping define vision and strategy, and leverages the organization’s competencies

§ Combines weight of personality with empathy towards others of many different backgrounds

§ Practiced at exercising influence in non-hierarchical relationships

§ Earns respect and generates trust in him/herself and the organization

§ Multicultural with language skills, practiced communicator and public speaker

§ Aligns with ICANN's values: integrity, trust, humility, technical excellence and public service

§ Able negotiator, without making enemies, can represent ICANN and can present it well

§ Strong affinity with the Internet (but not just a “cheerleader”), conscious of its role and complexity, fully embraces ICANN’s mission and its bottom-up process

§ Embodies and practices the multi-stakeholder approach and welcomes significant volunteer involvement


§ Internet architecture knowledge : understanding of the global Internet’s systems of unique identifiers, including domain names, protocol parameters and addresses

§ Institutional knowledge : familiarity with the functioning of registries and registrars, ICANN’s policy development procedures and user categories

§ Understanding of the domain names market structure and dynamics, including competition issues

The Internet Governance Ecosystem

§ Institutions: understand the environment of those involved in the Internet and its administrative governance systems, notably IETF, ISOC, W3C, and other standard bodies (ETSI, ITU, ISO, Unicode)

§ International awareness: know the government stakeholders in Internet governance and how to interact with them

§ Knowledge of the UN system and other international organizations and processes

§ Ability to function and generate trust with all actors through operational excellence and respect for input from the multistakeholder base

Additional Factor for Consideration

The stage of development of ICANN as an organization and the kind of CEO that would be suited for that and the next stage 

§ There are CEOs that are suitable for the start-up phase, growth and expansion, consolidation and stabilization, etc.  

§ The context of ICANN's stage of development and the desired next phase will serve as a frame for the CEO criteria.

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  1. From Rinalia Abdul Rahim - 7 June 2015 


    Dear ALAC and RALO Chairs,

    I am very much looking forward to seeing you and other At-Large community members again at the upcoming ICANN meeting in Buenos Aires. 

    Important Topic Alert
    The Board is interested in your input to help us refine the selection criteria for the next ICANN CEO.
    - On Sunday June 21st, there will be an ALAC/At-Large session with me, which will focus on the CEO Search and Criteria.   
    - On Thursday June 25th, there will be a Board Session on the CEO Succession Process right before the Public Forum where your input would be invaluable.

    Key Questions:
    What characteristics and skills would you like to see in the future ICANN CEO?
    As no one person will meet all the desired criteria, which criteria are most important? 
    What distribution of characteristics and skills would you like to see?

    I request that members of the ALAC and the At-Large spare some time thinking about and discussing this important topic.  If RALO Chairs could facilitate discussions at the regional level leading up to Buenos Aires, that would be extremely helpful to feed into the discussions in Buenos Aires.

    As a reference and trigger for your thoughts and discussion, below is the CEO Profile from the 2011 CEO Search materials.

    I look forward to your input.

    Best regards,


  2. From Holly Raiche - 8 June 2015 


    Thanks Rinalia for this.

    Alan et all - what about setting up a wiki for this - with the 2011 criteria listed in the background session so we can all both comment on what was there for 2011 and add anything else we think is missing for the next candidate.


  3. From Carlton Samuels - 8 June 2015 


    It looks like we were going for the super woman/man....but the attributes/skills I highlighted come up tops for importance, IMHO.  

    And we can even do another triage to find the really really important ones. 


  4. From Aziz Hilali - 8 June 2015 


    Hello Rinalia

    Thank you to ask for RALOs views.

    I agree with the idea of Holly.

    AFRALO will discuss this issue during our next monthly meeting Wednesday

    Best Regards


  5. From Vanda Scartezini - 8 June 2015 


    Hola all . Besides knowledge of management and disposition to understand on how to work with community, I would like to think a little out of the box.

    1. one point that for me was never well defined under the president mission – and I have the opportunity to talk longer with the head hunter which selected Fadi – was how same person can impersonate two very different required personalities doing both tasks with excellence. I explain 
      • Personality A – excellent manager,  large history in hugh position on corporations profit and not profit, with large budget and large amount of people together with a large number of clients to deal with
      • Personality  B – be a diplomatic person with huge understanding of government specificities, knowledge of protocols, reading government persons “encrypt” messages and all the aspects of a large term dealing with these aspects as day by day work.

    What iCANN demands with the actual estructure is a person with both personalities and experience and I believe this not only demands too much from a person and the time a person can dedicate to both sides is reduced, or a person will not perform with excellence one of the two sides.

    My simple suggestion for you all to think about is split the function. Work as parallel activities, in a collaborative model – this is the new capitalism anyway – and one has the responsibility with a corporation excellence and other with the interrelation with governments and international organisations and will dedicate whole time to this task.   

    As I said it is out of convencional structure under any corporation, but ICANN shall be different anyway.

    My 0.2 cents  

    Kisses to all

  6. From Carlton Samuels - 8 June 2015 


    Now you talking, Vanda!

    Excellent proposition, this split personality approach.  Its one reason I studiously avoided pronouncing on some.


  7. From Rinalia Abdul Rahim - 8 June 2015 


    An additional, but key consideration in your discussions:  

    Think about the stage of development of ICANN as an organization and the kind of CEO that would be suited for that and the next stage.

    There are CEOs that are suitable for the start-up phase, growth and expansion, consolidation and stabilization, etc.  

    The context of ICANN's stage of development and the desired next phase will serve as a frame for the CEO criteria.

    Best regards,


  8. From Sandra Hoferichter - 9 June 2015 


    Good point Rinalia. I think we enter the consolidation and stabilisation phase - if all goes well with the IANA transition. If not we end up in the stage of risk management.  

    I also very much agree on the comments Vanda made. IMPOV the least ICANN needs is an new CEO arriving with plenty of great ideas how to "improve" the organisation. With this I express my concern that we end up for instance with another new website whilst the current is not fully working. Also new tools, plenty of new staff might not be the best way forward. I would wish a new CEO takes itself a lot of time to understand the organisation before taking any action (My ICANN is a great example here). With this I mean taking time to get a deep understanding of the dynamics among SO/AC and the connection between Staff and community - how it is supposed to be and what are the realities. 

    We all know from our own experience when coming to ICANN, that this process of real understanding takes longer than once might expect. Another point will be to take up the actions and initiatives which are already developed by and within the community instead of swamping the community with lots of actions for their good. 

    Best Sandra

    (Note: This message was send from my iPhone - I do apologise for any misspelling.)

  9. From Olivier Crepin-Leblond - 9 June 2015 


    Hello all,

    My recommendations would be to ensure the next CEO comes from a not for profit background and has wide international experience. Also needs diplomatic skills. The "C" in ICANN has been way too dominant to the extent the organisation has had trouble acting in the public interest.

    Kind regards, 


  10. From Maureen Hilyard - 9 June 2015 


    +1 to all the contributions that have been made so far. I agree that we need someone with a new set of skills rather than a whole new set of ideas. And it would be good to be able to return to our core business. We need some stability after all this turmoil over the past year, but after Fadi its going to be difficult to find someone who can  keep up the motivation as we are winding down from the hype created by the IANA Transition and ICANN Accountability.

  11. From Cheryl Langdon-Orr - 9 June 2015 


    Agree very much with OCL here...

  12. From Wolf Ludwig - 9 June 2015 


    Plus 1 -- brief and concise as usual!

    Best, Wolf

  13. Thank you Rinalia for starting this thread.

    I agree with many of the remarks or suggestions already made by colleagues. In addition, the choice of the next CEO should take into account:


    • risk of fragmentation of the unique Internet (alternatives to the current DNS, sovereign states keen to exercise control and censorship, the Internet over-burdened with junk and spam...)
    • risk of excessive monetization (registering as domain names all the words of dictionaries in every language, fudging of the notion of Public Interest...)
    • growing complexity (and confusion) of the global governance challenge (numerous entities, unclear mandates, special interests in disguise...)


    • a technical remit, but in a context of increased calls about governance and content
    • reality and/or perception of ICANN, IANA etc. as a mainly US-centered, US-serving ecosystem
    • globalization has gone forward (Singapore & Istanbul offices, recruitment, outreach), but influence of some countries remains overwhelming, and will not always be well received (citizens from USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada have continuously held the highest positions in ICANN)
    • ability to not only deal with other entities (ITU, IGF, NetMundial, etc) but to inspire, interact, propose consensus


    • a first-ever CEO who would not ALSO be a US citizen? Able to work in several cultures/languages (Fadi will be a hard act to follow). The US has as much to gain from true globalization as other nations (Snowden has brought about a fundamentally new geo-strategic awareness)
    • If push comes to shove, give precedence to public-interest leadership over budget-management
    • personality, integrity, leadership are more important than any set of specific, technical qualifications
    • personal style: dynamism without nervousness, leadership without gumption, ambition but for the global community.

    Best regards,


  14. I discovered the follow post by Greg Shatan is president of the IP constituency


    an interesting perspective



  15. @JJS 

    • personal style: dynamism without nervousness, leadership without gumption, ambition but for the global community.

    excellent qualities, it seems diplomacy is a key leadership trait required in the mix.

    1. @Murray,

      you're right. For me, diplomacy results from combining all the above qualitites.

  16. I really like the piece by Greg that Murray refers to.  Yes, we need the person of vision who plays well on the world stage, as does Fadi. But we also need someone with corporate skills who can manage the final stages of transition to - whatever.  We need someone who has exeperience with multistakeholders.  That may include NGO experience, or at least working with that sector.  And it would really help to have at least some idea of what ICANN is and does.

  17. We need a leader with experience in the public, private and nonprofit organizations including academia, with geopolitical and cultural skills, mastering several languages mainly English, French and Spanish.

  18. I think we need a CEO who understands how to deal with a stakeholder controlled organization.  One who  can figure out how to orient the staff to that necessity and make it accountable to the stakeholders.

    As George said we need more of a Executive director or Secretariat.

    The CEO needs to know how to deal with all the other apsects but there is a strong senior staff that can do much of that.  What is missing is the ability to bring a multistakeholder ethos to the staff.  Some staff have it, some don't, but in general the organization is not adequately oriented to serving the stakeholder will.

    We also need a CEO who understands default transparency.