Göran Marby resigns as ICANN CEO, Sally Costerton named acting boss




Göran Marby has resigned as President and CEO of ICANN effective immediately. ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) announced that its board had accepted Marby’s departure.

“On behalf of the Board I’d like to thank Göran for his leadership over the past six-and-a-half years. He served during a critical time in ICANN’s history,” said ICANN Board Chair Tripti Sinha. “He was instrumental in leading ICANN organization (org) through the final phase of the IANA stewardship transition from the U.S. Government and in setting a solid vision for ICANN’s next chapter. He also championed ICANN’s efforts to serve the Internet users of the world through the creation of the DNS Security Facilitation Initiative Technical Study Group and Domain Abuse Activity Reporting project to mitigate threats to the Domain Name System, as well as the Coalition for Digital Africa to bring together like-minded partners to expand the Internet in Africa.”

(TOP: Göran Marby, the outgoing ICANN CEO). 

Marby joined ICANN as the CEO in May 2016, taking over from Fadi Chehadé, whose term ended on March 15, 2016. Prior to ICANN, he was the Director-General of the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority. A Swedish national, he was previously based in Stockholm and had to relocate with his family to Los Angeles, US after taking up the CEO role at ICANN.

Among Marby’s many notable achievements:

  • Leading ICANN through the COVID-19 global pandemic for which there was no roadmap.
  • Strengthening and evolving the ICANN org culture, resulting in 90% positive engagement survey responses across the staff in 2022.
  • Creating the Operational Design Phase – a mechanism to perform an assessment of Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council policy recommendations to provide the Board with relevant information for its deliberations on whether to approve said recommendations.
  • Championing efforts to monitor and mitigate DNS security threats.
  • Successfully engaging with governments around the world to protect ICANN and gain independence to create policies.
  • Creating initiatives to provide greater access to the Internet for users around the world.

At the request of the Board, Marby will be available to consult with ICANN until May 23, 2024, to support the transition to a new leader, as well as to advise the Board on any issue they require.

“I’m extremely proud of the work we have done together with the ICANN community and Board. ICANN org has designed the implementation strategies for several critical initiatives that will shape the future for ICANN and the Internet users of the world,” said Marby. “I am also keenly aware that these are long-term initiatives for which leadership continuity is essential. The next President and CEO will shepherd the next phase of this work.”

The ICANN Board will convene its search for a new CEO at the start of 2023. Sally Costerton, ICANN Senior Advisor to the President and the Senior VP for Global Stakeholder Engagement, has been named as Interim President and CEO. “I’m grateful to Sally for agreeing to take on this extra assignment to provide continuity and leadership,” noted Sinha.

In October 2020, ICANN announced that the Board had approved a two-year extension of Marby’s contract as the President and CEO of the organisation. As per the extension, Marby’s contract was to run out on May 23, 2024, almost one-and-a-half year’s from now.

ICANN’s mission is to help ensure a stable, secure, and unified global Internet. To reach another person on the Internet, you need to type an address – a name or a number – into your computer or other device. That address must be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN helps coordinate and support these unique identifiers across the world. ICANN was formed in 1998 as a nonprofit public benefit corporation with a community of participants from all over the world.

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