The new chief executive chosen to lead the body charged with managing the Internets domain name system walks into the job as somewhat of an unknown quantity, an attribute some say is needed.
An apparent outsider to the politics surrounding the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, M. Stuart Lynn, 63, will formally succeed the organizations first CEO, Mike Roberts, after ICANNs board meeting March 10 to 13 in Melbourne, Australia. He has agreed to a two-year contract at $245,000 per year.
Lynn, a U.K. native, has spent much of his career in the computing and information technology field at academic institutions, serving most recently as the chief information officer at the combined University of California system before his retirement in 1999. He said he plans to study the issues facing ICANN before he formally assumes his job, and insisted he does not come in with a personal agenda.
“Although Ive been involved with the Net from the early days, I have not been an insider in this particular part of the Net,” Lynn said. “I dont come in with prejudices or preheld views.”
Shonna Keogan, spokeswoman at domain name registrar Register.com, said ICANN could benefit from the “fresh perspective” Lynn appears to bring.
Some ICANN critics said they are cautiously optimistic that Lynn will be open to their concerns that ICANN has yet to achieve its mandate of policy making through Internet community consensus.
“From what I know, hes coming in without any known enemies,” said Barbara Simons, the past president of the Association of Computing Machinery, who knows Lynn from her work with this group.
Roberts has been at ICANN since it was chosen in 1998 by the U.S. government to take over management of the Internets domain name system. Roberts has often been a lightning rod for criticism as ICANN has worked to establish itself and set policies affecting the domain name system.
When asked why he decided to join the controversial organization, Lynn said he views it as a “public service job” and an opportunity to work to benefit people around the world. He said that while he will work to seek consensus among the Internet community, that doesnt mean gaining “universal agreement.”