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Seven ICANN directors have new gTLD conflicts

Kevin Murphy, February 17, 2012, 14:41:33 (UTC), Domain Policy

Seven members of ICANN’s board of directors have self-identified conflicts of interest when it comes to the new generic top-level domains program, according to a report from its last meeting.

Chair Steve Crocker, CEO of the consulting firm Shinkuro, appears to be newly conflicted.

He was among the directors to excuse themselves before the board discussed a resolution on new gTLDs last week, but he did vote on a new gTLD resolution at its December meeting.

Crocker has previously revealed that new gTLD applicant and registry services provider Afilias has an investment in Shinkuro.

Vice-chair Bruce Tonkin is chief strategy officer at Melbourne IT, which is a registrar as well as a new gTLD consultancy, and he also excused himself.

Ram Mohan and Suzanne Woolf, both non-voting directors, excused themselves because they work for registry service providers (Afilias and Internet Systems Consortium respectively).

Non-voting liaison Thomas Narten also declared a conflict, which is a heavy hint that his employer, IBM, is poised to apply for a dot-brand gTLD.

The other conflicted directors were S├ębastien Bachollet, CEO of BBS International Consulting, and Bertrand de La Chapelle of the International Diplomatic Academy.

Two directors appear to be newly unconflicted.

Kuo-Wei Wu and Thomas Roessler declared new gTLD program conflicts at the board’s December meeting but did not excuse themselves last week.

Erika Mann of Facebook missed the meeting (she also missed the December meeting) so it’s not clear whether there’s a “.facebook” conflict of interest yet.

The board of directors has 16 voting members. Nine need to be present for its meetings to be quorate.

ICANN introduced new conflict rules after former chair Peter Dengate Thrush took a job with new gTLD applicant/consultant Minds + Machines shortly after voting to approve the program last June.

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