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ICANN Ombudsman quits

Kevin Murphy, July 13, 2023, 13:09:58 (UTC), Domain Policy

Herb Waye has quit as ICANN’s independent Ombudsman, according to ICANN.

His last day will be September 30 and ICANN is already looking for his replacement, the Org said in a statement.

While the announcement includes a glowing quote from board chair Tripti Sinha it does not contain a quote from Waye and no reason was given for his departure.

Waye has been in the Ombudsman’s office for 16 years, the last seven as the Ombudsman itself.

The Ombudsman is a structurally independent office that deals with issues of fairness within the ICANN community. It’s one way community members can complain about each other and ICANN itself.

Most the work is handled confidentially, so it’s difficult to say exactly what it is the Ombudsman does for their money, but the last few years’ Ombudsman annual reports show the office typically receives a couple hundred complaints a year, maybe a couple dozen of which are actually within its jurisdiction.

Complaints cover issues such as abusive discourse, harassment, and contractual compliance.

Some of the most visible Ombudsman work has related to sexual harassment complaints at ICANN public meetings. Some female community members have stated that they would feel uncomfortable reporting sexual harassment to a male Ombudsman.

I’d be very surprised if the next Ombudsman is not a woman.

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