ICANN’s recently promoted chief strategy officer Kurt Pritz has resigned, citing a conflict of interest.
The shocking news came in a message from CEO Fadi Chehade, posted this afternoon to the ICANN web site.
Here is the message in its entirety:
To the ICANN Community,
Regretfully, I have accepted the resignation of Kurt Pritz, who has served most recently as ICANN’s Chief Strategy Officer.
Kurt has submitted his resignation because of a recently identified conflict of interest, which he immediately communicated to ICANN. After analyzing this conflict of interest, we decided that a change in Kurt’s role within ICANN would be appropriate. Kurt decided to resign his position and role as an officer of ICANN, to best serve the interests of the organization. Kurt will be engaged as a subject matter expert where needed, but will have no access to new gTLD applicant information nor will he play a role in the new gTLD program.
I have already put in place a plan for the reassignment of all of Kurt’s management responsibilities.
I would like to thank Kurt for his many years of service and commitment to ICANN and our community.
No further details were provided.
Pritz was until recently senior vice president for stakeholder relations. He was elevated to the newly created C-level position when Chehade joined ICANN in October.
He’s been ICANN’s point man for the new gTLD program for years, and his departure will be a huge loss to the organization.
His resignation follows that of new gTLD program manager Michael Salazar, who took the fall for the aborted Digital Archery fiasco this June, and comes shortly after Chehade’s incoming management shake-up.
UPDATE: Pritz, in an email to DI, declined to comment and referred questions to ICANN.
UPDATE 2: ICANN has so far declined to elaborate on the reasons for Pritz’s resignation, saying it is a “personnel matter”.
However, according to multiple sources attending an unrelated meeting at ICANN’s headquarters in Los Angeles today (discussing the Trademark Clearinghouse), a couple of hours ago Chehade disclosed that Pritz’s conflict was of a “personal”, rather than professional, nature.