Was invited to breakfast this morning with the man who may very well become the next ICANN CEO at the conclusion of the 35th ICANN meeting currently going on in Sydney.
Rod Beckstrom at the Sydney ICANN meeting. Photo SVG.
Rod Beckstrom came across as a friendly and enthusiastic person, taking the necessary time to get to know every one present at this breakfast.
Let me stress that when I write "may very well" become the next CEO, I'm not being funny. As the man himself said this morning: "if I'm lucky enough to be offered this position, and if I'm crazy enough to accept…" In other words, although discussions are in their final stages, until the ICANN Board takes a definitive vote during their meeting on Friday, Paul Twomey's successor has yet to be chosen.
There's also the question of will Beckstrom himself want the job? You'd be forgiven for thinking that if he's come this far, his mind is already made up. But this morning, I got the feeling that this may not necessarily be so and that he was taking a very close, long and hard look at the way the ICANN community works through the prism of this Sydney meeting. And let's be frank, the "ICANN circus" as I've heard some people call it would be enough to put anybody off
Anyway, if Rod Beckstrom does get the Board's vote and if he does decide to say yes, he will officially start his new job next Wednesday, July 1st, at noon California time.
So who will we be getting? An American with considerable private sector entrepreneurship experience, whom most recently worked inside the US government, has lived in four different countries, knows Europe very well, was an exchange student in Germany and went to University in Switzerland.
All good prerequisites for dealing with the complexities of the ICANN ecosystem. So the ICANN Board may have a good candidate on their hands. But whether Rod Beckstrom's tenure is a success or not will depend a lot on what the Board asks of him and how he can address two very difficult issues: new gTLDs and the JPA.