Icann Head Will Step Down Next July

Announcement comes amid controversy over new domain scheme

Rod Beckstrom, CEO and president of the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann), the organization that oversees the Internet address system, is planning to resign next July when his three-year contract is up, The New York Times reports.

Beckstrom announced his departure from Icann on Twitter late Tuesday. Later, in a press release, he said, “I am incredibly proud of Icann’s achievements throughout my tenure. In two short years we have advanced this organization to a new level of professionalism and productivity, and turned it into a genuinely multinational organization that will serve the world community long after my time here.”

During Beckstrom’s term at Icann, the organization pushed to expand and internationalize the Internet address system, and this past June, it approved a controversial expansion of available addresses that would make it possible for Web users to create their own extensions.

According to the Times, Beckstrom’s resignation could cause international conflict over control of Icann and Web governance in general. The organization, which was set up by the U.S. government, was given greater autonomy in 2009, but some governments—especially in China and Russia—are said to want more control over the Internet in their countries.

Icann hasn’t made an official statement concerning a successor for Beckstrom. He said that until his resignation next year, he remains “committed to leading this critical organization with the utmost dedication, and to living up to our common vision: one world, one Internet.”