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Icann ousts CSO in latest gTLD setback

15 Nov 2012
The ICANN logo

The chief strategy officer of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has been fired over what it described as a conflict of interest.

The company said in a statement from chief executive Fadi Chehadé that it has accepted the resignation of CSO Kurt Pritz and would be reassigning Pritz' role in the rollout of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs.)

Chehadé said that the resignation was accepted after the company learned Pritz had a conflict of interest in his role as CSO. The company did not state the nature of the conflict, but said that Pritz will not have access to gTLD applicant information and will be consulted as a "subject matter expert" when needed.

"After analysing this conflict of interest, we decided that a change in Kurt’s role within Icann would be appropriate," the Icann boss said.

"Kurt decided to resign his position and role as an officer of Icann, to best serve the interests of the organisation."

The move is the latest bump in what has already been a rocky journey for the gTLD programme. Pritz had played a key role in the process, appearing on behalf of Icann and responding to critics of the gTLD process. In 2011, Pritz represented the corporation in US Senate hearings on the rollout process.

The system behind the gTLD application process has for much of the year been plagued by delays and outages which have set the gTLD introduction back.

Pritz' resignation also heralds yet another change in the highest ranks at Icann. Earlier this year the company replaced its CEO when Chehadé took the reins from Rod Beckstrom, who stepped down from his role in a planned transition.


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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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