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Watch ICANN’s president explain his departure

Kevin Murphy, September 18, 2011, 08:20:20 (UTC), Domain Policy

Rod Beckstrom explained his decision to leave ICANN next year, and gave a status report on the new top-level domains program, in a recent video.

The interview with ICANN freelancer Jim Trengrove was taped August 31 and uploaded to an ICANN video channel, but does not appear to have been made easily viewable anywhere yet.

In it, Beckstrom gives his version of events leading up to his August 16 resignation announcement, which some interpreted as a decision made by the ICANN board.

“I was only willing to make a three-year commitment in the first place and that’s what we came up with,” Beckstrom says. “We had some discussions with the board to make some contract changes and we did not come to agreement so I decided not to seek renewal.”

“The last thing I wanted to do was leave this organization in the lurch,” he says, explaining the early announcement. “As soon as I made my decision I decided the very next day to communicate that.”

The 16-minute video also gives a quick update into the gTLD program.

“Is ICANN ready?” Trengrove asks (a question I posed myself the very same day). Beckstrom responds:

ICANN is preparing very well for the program… There’s a lot of work to get done every single day still to prepare this program for the January 12 launch, but I’m pleased to say I think the team is performing and I think we will be ready. At the same time, it is going to put more visibility on ICANN and bring new pressures so it’s hard to say exactly how ICANN will respond to all those but I think all the preparation to run a proper program is being put in place.

At the time the video was taped, the growing anti-gTLDs campaign from the advertising industry was already well-evident, which may be what Beckstrom is referring to.

He goes into some detail about his thinking when it came to the decision to cut off interminable new gTLD policy debate in favor of getting on with execution.

The interview also touches on ICANN’s emerging ethical conundrum, which was most recently exemplified by Sen. Ron Wyden’s call for an anti-“revolving door” policy.

Beckstrom says that enforcing ethical behaviour is “extremely important for ICANN’s credibility”.

If the embedded video above does not work for you, you can watch it here.

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Comments (1)

  1. John Berard says:

    Kevin,

    Such valedictory videos are common ways to try to frame the public view of history. This one, though self-produced, still seems to suggest a disconnect that may be at the root of the decision (whether Beckstrom’s or the Board’s) to not go passed the initial three-year deal.

    In the video, Rod is asked about the highlights of his tenure. He cites three: bringing the YouTube rock sensation onto the stage in Korea, talking to Gorbachev about the fall of the Berlin Wall and having former U.S. President Clinton address the meeting in San Francisco.

    This is the view of a tourist.

    What about DNSSec? What about the Affirmation of Commitments? What about the approval of the new gTLD program? Those ought to have been at least three things on a longer list of highlights.

    I wonder if whichever talent agency has been selected has created the job description for the next CEO. Think you can get your hands on that?

    Berard

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