Fadi Chehadé officially assumed the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN Friday, two weeks ahead of his planned start date.
Chehadé’s appointment as CEO had been announced on 22 June, though he was not expected to assume his role until 1 October. Chief Operating Officer (COO) Akram Atallah had been serving as the interim CEO and will now reassume his role as COO.
Chehadé’s first day in the position led to the announcement of several personnel changes, including the appointment of two news staff members, both of which were rivals for his position.
Tarek Kamel has been appointed as Senior Advisor to the President of ICANN. Kamel currently leads the development of an Africa strategy, will assume the role of Senior Advisor for Government Affairs, leading all aspects of Government Engagement.
The other is Sally Costerton, most recently CEO of Hill & Knowlton Public Relations for Europe, the Middle East and Asia, who has been tapped to lead the new position of Stakeholder Engagement, a role that will incorporate the communications function.
In addition there have been some changes with existing personnel. Akram Atallah, who was acting CEO until Friday, will see his role expanded to include oversight of Registry and Registrar Services, the new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) program, Security and other important activities.
There was also some changes and confirmation of those that report directly to the CEO. Kurt Pritz, Senior Vice President, will take on a new role as Chief of Strategy while John Jeffrey, General Counsel and Secretary of the ICANN Board, and David Olive, Vice President of Policy, will both continue in their current roles.
Chehadé thanked Atallah for assuming the top spot during the summer and then, during a staff meeting, he explained his plans for the future.
“I have spent the past two months asking myself and many others from all over the Internet community worldwide the same questions,” Chehadé said in a statement. “How can ICANN work better with its stakeholders to bring all interested parties to the table to debate and agree how to improve the DNS? How can we ensure that all global citizens can share an open Internet which is sustainable and resilient?”
Chehade’s strategy puts ICANN’s stakeholders at its heart. The organisation’s staff will be brought together in collaborative teams organized in a global matrix that distributes key functions and leaders across the world to accelerate effective engagement.
“I’ve spent the summer putting the right team in place – looking deep within ICANN and beyond to find the best mix of talents to help me to fulfil ICANN’s mission,” said Chehadé. “Frankly I am impressed and humbled by what these diverse leaders bring to the table. I’ve been fortunate to have great support from the ICANN Board as well as the staff and I know that we will be able to build upon the organization’s many achievements.”
“The Board has consulted extensively with Fadi through the past couple of months and has spent this week in session with him and his leadership team reviewing his plans,” said Dr. Stephen Crocker, ICANN Board Chair. “We are very supportive and will do everything we can to help the ICANN team deliver successfully.”
Both Costerton and Kamel will be based in ICANN’s European region and will report directly to the CEO. Their goal is to strengthen ICANN’s international engagement at all levels, and to implement the global matrix alongside ICANN’s regional vice presidents.
In a further organizational development, Chehadé announced that Maguy Serad, Senior Director of Contractual Compliance will be promoted to Vice President of Contractual Compliance, with her department reporting directly to the CEO.