2015-05-22

What Caused ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehadé To Quit?

Less than 3 years into his tenure as ICANN President and CEO, with more than 2 years left on his contract--ICANN flush with millions in cash from the largest, but full of problems, expansion underway of the DNS in history (ICANN's new gTLDs), as well as the IANA stewardship transition incomplete and still questionable time frame--this seems an inappropriate time for the ICANN CEO to suddenly announce he's leaving. Indeed, Fadi Chehadé's announcement that he will leave ICANN next March, caught almost everyone by surprise, even ICANN insiders:
But long-time observers and participants within ICANN are probably inured to the constant ICANN spin-machine and accept ICANN incompetence and ineptness as a given. But most people don't care nor pay any attention to ICANN. If they did, this is what Fadi Chehadé's legacy at ICANN looks like today:

1. The ICANN new gTLDs program is an embarrassment and disaster (see this and this and this and THIS);

2. The global Internet community largely rejected Fadi's leadership in his top-down ICANN-financed project known as the NETmundial Initiative;

3. ICANN stakeholders had to force ICANN and the US Department of Commerce's NTIA to add an "ICANN accountability" component to the IANA stewardship transition process--NTIA's Larry Strickling never mentioned an accountability "enhancement" requirement in his March, 2014 announcement--but today even Strickling admits ICANN accountability "enhancement" is a necessary component going forward before any IANA stewardship transition can occur.

Three strikes and you're out? We may never know which "straw broke the camel's back." ICANN has lots of secrets and is not known for transparency nor public accountability when it comes to its own Officers.

What we do know is that ICANN and Chehadé have been watched more closely in the past year due to all of the above. In addition, the above has brought added stress to the organization and those in leadership positions. Even normally calm ICANN Board Chairman, Steve Crocker, had a "meltdown moment" yesterday on the CCWG-Accountability mail list.

And ICANN stakeholders are also stressed out--recently an ICANN stakeholder, active in both the CWG-Stewardship and CCWG-Accountability processes, both of which have been working overtime due to "impossible" deadlines, in frustration posted the following on a public mail list:
"... ICANN has, in the process of the CWG and CCWG, revealed itself to be even more beset by bureaucratic thinking, clerical rot, hobby-horse obsessions, unimaginative analyses, and cut-rate Machiavellian management than I'd believed going in. I think it is a fine institution for managing an increasingly-irrelevant resource (TLDs), but it is not an institution that is in good shape to ensure the health of the Internet." (emphasis added)

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