Vocado Executive To Become New ICANN CEO
June 24, 2012

Vocado Executive To Become New ICANN CEO

The organization which oversees website domain names has chosen a little-known executive as the successor to departing chief executive Rod Beckstrom, according to various media reports published this weekend.

Beckstrom, who is departing ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) when his three-year contract expires next month, will be replaced by Fadi Chehade.

The 50-year-old Chehade, who is currently the CEO at cloud-based administrative software firm Vocado, will take over at ICANN's CEO in October, Reuters reported on June 22.

"Fadi has an amazing track record of success and the obvious leadership qualities to help carry ICANN into the next stage of its evolution," ICANN chairman Dr. Stephen Crocker said, according to Iain Thomson of The Register.

"His international background and multi-linguistic skills will help to make ICANN an ever more globally oriented organization. It's hard to imagine how we could have found anyone better suited for the top position," he added.

Chehade, a Lebanese-born businessman who is also a former IBM executive, replaces Beckstrom, who announced his decision to leave ICANN last August, Thomson said. He is scheduled to earn $560,000 in base salary, plus a possible $240,000 in merit based bonuses

Chief Operating Officer Akram Atallah will serve as interim CEO until Chehade takes over the reins, which is currently scheduled to take place on October 1, according to the Associated Press (AP). Chehade's tenure will last until July 1, 2015.

"I have spent most of my professional career building consensus among various stakeholders from around the world," Chehade said in a statement, according to CNET's Stephen Shankland. "I am naturally humbled to now be able to lead an organization that defines itself by an international multi-stakeholder model and one that is the very core of the security and stability of the Internet."

One of the new CEO's primary responsibilities, the AP said, will be overseeing the ongoing expansion of ICANN's Internet address system, which the press agency calls the "largest“¦ since its creation in the 1980s." The ongoing changes will affect how people find Web sites or send email, and could allow businesses to pursue other options due to the increased demand for "easy-to-remember '.com' names."

"ICANN has received 1,930 proposals for 1,409 different domain name suffixes, including '.love,' '.google' and '.music,'" the AP wrote. "They would rival '.com' and others now in use. A florist called Apple can't use 'apple.com' today because the computer company has it, but the shop might get 'apple.flowers' one day."

However, "even after a decade of debate, however, the expansion still faces criticism, much of it from trademark holders who worry about having to police the Internet for addresses that misuse their brands," they added.