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Stéphane Van Gelder dies after motorcycle accident

Kevin Murphy, March 26, 2018, 17:25:13 (UTC), Domain Policy

I’m very sad to report that domain name industry veteran and ICANN community leader Stéphane Van Gelder has died. He was 51.

SVGFriends tell me he died today of injuries sustained in a vehicle crash in Switzerland near the Italian border.

According to a local report, he and his wife were hit by a car March 23, while stopped on their motorcycles at a traffic light.

His wife, Julie, was also injured but survived.

Stéphane was a long-time member of the industry, in 1999 co-founding the French registrar Indom, which he sold to Group NBT in 2010.

After Indom, he became an independent consultant, first under the brand Stéphane Van Gelder Consulting, later as Milathan.

He joined new gTLD registry StartingDot in 2014 and saw the company through to its acquisition by Afilias in 2016.

He told us at the time of his rebranding that the name “Milathan” was a “derivative of words in Hindi that mean ‘union’ or ‘meeting’ in the sense of bringing people together”.

It was perhaps an appropriate name, given Stéphane’s record of successful senior leadership positions in the ICANN volunteer community.

Notably, he chaired the GNSO Council for two years from 2010, and was chair of the Nominating Committee from 2015.

His most recent social media posts show that he was on a motorcycle tour of Italy with his wife before his accident near Lake Como.

Stéphane and I were not close, but in our interactions I always found him knowledgeable, witty, and charming. A thoroughly nice guy.

He was also one of the very few people in the industry I’ve trusted enough to write guest posts for DI over the years. Here he is fighting the GNSO’s corner in 2012.

Stéphane is survived by his wife and, friends tell me, two children. They have our condolences, and we wish his wife a speedy recovery.

He will be missed.

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Comments (41)

  1. Jeffrey Sass says:

    Very, very, sad. Stephane was always a pleasure to see. Life is short and uncertain. Make every moment count. Trite as it sounds, yet another reminder it is true. My condolences to his friends and family. A loss for our industry and beyond.

  2. Jothan Frakes says:

    Truly sad news. Certainly too soon for the world to lose a quality person like Stephane.

  3. Phil Adcock says:

    I’m truly saddened to hear this terrible news. Stephane was well respected in the domain name community and a gentlemen. Sincerest condolences to his wife and family from all at the .im ccTLD.

  4. Francois says:

    Ouch! That’s terrible sad news.
    Repose en paix Stephane.

  5. Lesley says:

    Oh no! Very sad indeed to hear this news. I have fond memories of his humour and our bike related conversations. Sympathies to his family and many friends.

  6. Very sad news 🙁 My last conversation with Stéphane was recently at ICANN Puerto Rico concerning motorbikes, one of his big passions. This is a big loss to the community. My condolences to the family. Heartbreaking… 🙁

  7. Elaine Pruis says:

    What a tragedy. Stephane made many wonderful contributions to our industry. He will be missed. My sympathy to his loved ones and friends.

  8. Bob Mountain says:

    Shocking and sad news. Stephane was passionate about his work and genuinely a nice guy. He will be missed.

  9. Emiliano Pasqualetti says:

    Our community loses a great man, his contagious laughters and his sincere friendship.
    I won’t forget how enjoyable was making fun of ourselves and enjoy long nights together.
    We will miss you mate.

  10. Solomon Amoako says:

    I am so sad and heartbroken to hear this news. Stephane was an amazing human being. His humour, genuine love of life, friends and family was beautiful. I feel honoured to have known him and simply have no words….
    You will be missed, my friend…

  11. Alexa Raad says:

    Very sad to hear this news. My condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. He was always witty, charming, informed and the perfect gentleman. Life is precious and fleeting. And this is yet another sad reminder.

  12. Mike Rodenbaugh says:

    Stephane had rare ability and desire to bring disparate groups and individual viewpoints together. He was a pillar of the ICANN community, in so many roles over so many years. Always quick with a smile and something funny to say, which often led to something serious and insightful. He was a friend to me, as to many of us, and will be sorely missed. RIP, SVG.

  13. Rob Coghill says:

    What shock news! Condolences to his family, he was a good boss and a nice guy! Gone too soon!

  14. Daniela says:

    So sorry to hear such a sad news. Mes condoléances les plus sincères à sa famille et tous ses chers. R.I.P. Stéphane

  15. David Taylor says:

    A great loss of a true friend and a great colleague. Tragic. He lived life to the full. His last message to me in ICANN61 Puerto Rico on the last day there was: “Off now. Be safe going home and let’s not just say we’ll dine together in Paris, let’s make sure we do!”. I’ll miss that dinner. Au revoir mon ami. Thinking of your loved ones.

  16. Terrible news for all us who got to know Stéphane Van Gelder. RIP

  17. Anne-Rachel Inne says:

    Repose en paix mon Grand. Ce n’est qu’un aurevoir mais il est dur a formuler. Condoleances a toute ta famille.

    AR

  18. Nathalie Relva says:

    I knew him since 1999… since Indom… It’s sad… so sad !
    C’est un choc ! Mes pensées vont à sa femme, Julie… ses proches… reponse en paix SVG !

  19. Steve DelBianco says:

    Stéphane had that unique combination of skills and personality, such that we trusted him, liked working with him, and listened to his advice. I’m wondering what his advice would be now, about how he’d like us to honor his legacy.

  20. Cheryl Langdon-Orr says:

    A sad and tragic loss. A life so needlessly lost to soon, he will, as many have said be sorely missed. Deepest condolences to Julie and the children.

  21. Freida Tallon says:

    I am truly devastated to hear this terrible news ,a huge loss in every way, such a true gentleman,always had time to chat may he rest in peace my sincere condolences to Julie and the children.

  22. I’m shocked beyond words. Our paths have crossed a number of times. My condolences to the family.

  23. Tina Lord says:

    Such sad news. He was such a love and he will be very sorely missed.

  24. Paul Foody says:

    I’m shocked & saddened to hear this awful news today.
    I can’t say I liked Stephane but he was always polite to me & respectful of my right to a view entirely opposed to his own.
    My heart goes out to his wife and children.

  25. Phil Buckingham says:

    I’m truly shocked and saddened to read this. It was through our mutual connection with Netnames that typically it was Stephane who helped me integrate into the ICANN world back in 2009. Hugely respected, a real gent its another life cut brutally short. My sincere condolences to his wife and family. I hope ICANN will see to it to set up a book of condolences for the ICANN worldwide community to pay their respects.

  26. Steve GOBIN says:

    It’s a very sad news. Stéphane was a great professional and a very nice guy. My deepest condolences to his family.

  27. Matt Mansell says:

    What awful news to read. THE gentleman in our industry. Always generous with his time, and incredible intellect. I shall miss the warmth and time he always found and offered freely.

  28. Samit says:

    This is so really sad. My deepest condolences to his family.

  29. Jean Guillon says:

    Sad day.
    🙁
    RIP .STEPHANE

  30. Jay Westerdal says:

    He was a nice guy. He is leaving this world to quick. I wish his family the best.

  31. Wolf-Ulrich Knoben says:

    Incomprehensible – this tragedy! I had the luck to work together with him on GNSO council leadership. Memorable his charme in facilitating difficult discussions. My thoughts are with his family.
    Wolf-Ulrich

  32. My sincere condolences to the Van Gelder family. I am still in shock after waking to this news. I was just sitting behind Stéphane and Paul Diaz at the Tuesday RySG meeting at ICANN 61 in San Juan, Puerto Rico two weeks ago. They were eating lunch, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company and conversation. I thought to myself that it’s so nice to have such good friends in our industry who help make long weeks at ICANN meetings more bearable. Thank you Stéphane for your hard work, tirelessly long hours, and major contributions to our industry. You will be greatly missed.

  33. Matt Serlin says:

    I have too many great memories of SVG to list here and I always looked forward to catching up with him at whichever far flung location in the world we found ourselves in for an ICANN meeting. He truly was a pillar in the community and gone far too soon. My condolences to his family. RIP friend.

  34. So young. So sad.
    My condolences to the family.

  35. Jennie-Marie Larsen says:

    Stéphane was of my oldest friends in this industry. Such a sharp and creative man. He was the best of the French and the English cultures. Such a huge loss for our Industry, and more importantly his family. Our hearts go out to you.

  36. Garth Bruen says:

    Awful. He will be missed, a gentleman.

  37. Paul Goldstone says:

    Just awful news. Stéphane was a sharp character, full of energy, great wit, and I always enjoyed his company. Sincere condolences to his family, his wife, and his kids. You’ll be missed buddy. RIP x

  38. Adrian Kinderis says:

    A loss to us all. A ripping bloke and a long time colleague. Always up for a quick laugh or a jibe. Enjoyed working with him and valued his contribution to any conversation. Love to his family.

  39. KM says:

    Milathan was a combination of the names of his two children. Probably also that Hindi stuff too… but there was a softer side there. I will miss him.

  40. J.C. says:

    It’s great (and unsurprising) to see that SVG meant so much for so many of us. In that spirit, here is a quick translation of the information published a couple of days ago by Stéphane’s wife.

    “To be with Stéphane one more time, let’s meet on April 7th at 10 am, at the Montmartre cemetery, 20 avenue Rachel, 75018 Paris.

    Flowers can be sent through the https://www.pampa.paris before 4/4 by mentioning “Pour Stéphane Van Gelder”.

    Condolences and memories, text, photos, videos, music can be sent to rip.svg.rip@gmail.com

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