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First ICANN CEO candidate revealed

Kevin Murphy, February 8, 2012, 05:04:08 (UTC), Domain Policy

Former ICANN director Njeri Rionge has emerged as a possible candidate for the soon-to-be-vacated CEO’s job.
Rionge is a Kenyan national, described last year by as “one of Kenya’s most successful and revered serial entrepreneurs”.
She founded Wananchi Online, a successful ISP in East Africa, and the business consultancy Ignite Consulting.
Her candidature was revealed in an open letter posted today by Sophia Bekele, CEO of DotConnectAfrica, a likely applicant for the .africa generic top-level domain.
DCA and Rionge have severed ties due to her new CEO aspirations, according to Bekele:

At the end of 2011, Ms. Njeri Rionge had expressed to DCA Executive Director, a direct interest in competing for the soon to be vacant ICANN CEO position, and for this reason, was kindly requested by DCA to submit her resignation from the DCA Strategic Advisory Board for ethical/conflict of interest reasons.
This was done after due internal consultations with concerned parties. Accordingly, Njeri Rionge is no longer involved in DCA and DCA Registry Ltd either as a Board Member or shareholder and will not represent neither would she be affiliated with DCA in any capacity, now or in the near future.

Rionge served on the ICANN board of directors as a Nominating Committee appointee for two terms between 2003 and 2008.
While there’s a ban on current directors applying for the CEO position, I don’t believe there’s any such prohibition on former directors.
ICANN is currently interviewing would-be replacements for Rod Beckstrom, who intends to leave the organization in July after a three-year term.
No other candidates have been revealed to date.
The only other name being circulated in the rumor mill is Lesley Cowley, CEO of .uk registry Nominet and current chair of ICANN’s ccNSO, but I’ve no idea if she’s even interested.

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Comments (8)

  1. I think Forbes has opened up their platform to little more than “bloggers”, i.e. “contributors”. I wouldn’t call it “Forbes magazine” unless it appears in the print edition.

  2. Kevin Murphy says:

    The reporter has credentials, but your point is fair. It’s not the magazine.

  3. Also, I think given some of the past Board choices, they should be far more diligent in their background checks, due diligence, etc.
    According to Ms. Rionge’s site, her Toronto office address is 1920 Yonge Street, Suite 200. Try Googling that address — it’s nothing more than a shared office space, a virtual office operated by For someone described as one of Kenya’s “most successful entrepreneurs”, that seems a little…..understated.

  4. Calvin says:

    I wonder if her condonation of DCA’s libellious actions while she was a director and shareholder of DCA will count against her in her application…

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