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As new gTLDs loom, ICANN expands

Kevin Murphy, September 21, 2011, Domain Policy

ICANN plans to upgrade its offices in California and Brussels to deal with anticipated staff growth as the new top-level domains program kicks off.

In a resolution passed late last week, the board of directors said that ICANN should start negotiating for more space at its current location, or to find a new location in Marina Del Rey.

It also resolved to lease a permanent office in Brussels, where it’s currently paying month-to-month at a Regus managed office facility.

Both resolutions are redacted of the specifics of price and locations of interest, presumably in order to not jinx ICANN’s negotiating position with its landlords.

ICANN employs 124 staff, and has job openings for 21 more, according to its latest CEO’s report. Many of its open positions are intended to support the new gTLD program.

Its fiscal 2012 budget includes $2.1 million to pay for its offices in Marina Del Rey, Brussels, Washington DC, Palo Alto and Sydney.

Also in Friday’s board meeting, ICANN approved the formation of a search committee to find itself a new CEO, following the announcement of Rod Beckstrom’s July 2012 departure.

The committee isn’t likely to be formed until the next meeting, in Dakar, October 28, so don’t all start typing up your resumes just yet.

The board also approved the appointment of new chief financial officer Xavier Calvez, who was named to the post on an interim basis earlier this month.

He will receive a salary of $250,000, with a 30% ($75,000) performance-based bonus. That’s compared to his predecessor’s $170,000 base and 20% bonus.

The price of ICANN transparency: $2.6m

Kevin Murphy, April 24, 2011, Domain Policy

ICANN has estimated that it will need an extra $2.6 million on its fiscal 2012 budget to cover the cost of becoming more transparent and accountable.

In March, the organization decided to implement the 27 recommendations of its Accountability and Transparency Review Team, and last week the board asked its finance committee to look into budgeting the project.

The cost is estimated at $2.6 million for fiscal 2012, which begins in July, according to the resolution passed by the board on Thursday.

That’s much more than the initial estimate of $965,000 mentioned in staff briefing documents (pdf) provided to the board before its meeting in March, which excluded the ATRT recommendation that ICANN’s directors receive compensation.

The extra cash is required to hire additional staff and pay for consulting services. Presumably some of it will now also be needed to pay the board.