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Now That Kurt Pritz Has Resigned over Conflict of Interest, Will a Transparent Investigation Follow?

Khaled Fattal

Yesterday ICANN announced that its new CEO Fadi Chehade accepted ICANN Chief Strategy Officer Kurt Pritz's resignation over conflict of Interests — will a transparent investigation follow? Otherwise, what else and what next?

In a statement on its ICANN website, Fadi Chehade states: "Kurt has submitted his resignation because of a recently identified conflict of interest". Prior to his weeks old role as Chief Strategy Officer Mr. Pritz was the top ICANN Executive overseeing the New gTLDs program.

ICANN has not disclosed the nature of the conflict nor whether is it limited and personal to only Mr. Pritz or if it is linked to any third party or parties inside or outside ICANN.

ICANN is yet to indicate if an investigation is being considered and whether such an investigation is best to be undertaken internally or externally to control the damage to its image, reputation, credibility and legitimacy worldwide and as the beacon of the Multi-stakeholder model less than 3 weeks before the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) convenes and where its role under the singular mandate of the United States Government and the current internet governance models are key topics to be debated and decided on.

It is yet to be determined if this is part of a deliberate drive by Mr. Chehade to reform and restructure ICANN above and beyond the operational excellence he identified as part of his plan and which cannot succeed without cleansing ICANN transparently from its conflict of interest woes.

No detail yet has been conveyed if any internal or external third party(s) are involved, nor whom they may be.

Similarly ICANN has not disclosed the nature of the interest that led to Mr. Pritz's resignation and if other staff members or anyone on the ICANN board itself are involved directly or indirectly, or whether this conflict of interest is limited to only Mr. Pritz.

Worth noting is that concerns over widespread conflicts of interests inside ICANN including its board are not new and have been raised against the organization over many years.

Most recently ICANN's former Chairman Mr. Peter Dengate Thrush who led ICANN for three years and guided it over the New gTLD program joined a major applicant group for new gTLDs immediately after his term as ICANN chairman ended which seriously damaged ICANN's credibility and legitimacy worldwide. It also highlighted and identified how poor and inadequate ICANN's bylaws that govern conflicts of interests are and how challenged its current structures are in effectively serving the Global Public Interest, the Multi stakeholder model, and in delivering on their global internet mandated role with real transparency, credibility and legitimacy.

So will we witness a damage control publicity campaign in response to this new revelation or has has Real "Change" Come to ICANN?

All these above question have been put formally to ICANN to respond to. Ankabooot will publish them as soon as they are received.

This Ankabooot editorial first appeared on this page.

By Khaled Fattal, Group Chairman, The Multilingual Internet Group. More blog posts from Khaled Fattal can also be read here.

Related topics: ICANN

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mountain.....molehill McTim  –  Nov 17, 2012 7:30 AM PST

Hi Khaled,

I think your call for an investigation is not only premature, but over the top.

Why on earth would you suspect that anyone else is involved?  This sounds like a simple case where we should celebrate the openness and candor of ICANN staff, and not look for conspiracies where there is no suggestion of one.

I think this announcement increases ICANN's "image, reputation, credibility and legitimacy worldwide" rather than threatens it!



And I agree with McTim Suresh Ramasubramanian  –  Nov 19, 2012 7:34 PM PST

It would also be utterly unwise for ICANN to make any employee firing related decisions more public than the brief note that was released to cover Pritz's removal.

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