Could ICANN’s chair be ousted by NomCom?

Could ICANN’s current chair face the chopping block this November due to ICANN’s diversity quotas? I think it’s unlikely, but I think it’s not technically impossible.

Some stats published by ICANN’s Nominating Committee today got me doing some back-of-the-envelope maths, and I think there’s a scenario in which Tripti Sinha could not be reappointed to the board of directors without breaching its own bylaws.

NomCom, which this year is tasked with filling seven ICANN leadership positions including three directors, said that it has here are 78 candidates in total, about half as many as applied for the nine open positions last year, and they break down like this:

  • 26% are from Africa.
  • 22% are from Asia-Pacific.
  • 24% percent are from Europe.
  • 8% Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • 20% are from North America.
  • 29% are female, 71% are male.

Three of the open positions are on the ICANN board of directors, and none of the current occupants are term-limited. This means that all three, if they want to stay on the board, will have to have re-applied for their jobs.

The seats of chair Tripti Sinha and vice chair Danko Jevtović are among those NomCom has been asked to fill.

Normally, I’d be incredibly surprised if NomCom were to replace Sinha — I don’t think a sitting chair has ever been ousted by the committee and to my knowledge Sinha has done nothing to warrant being fired — but if my calculations are correct there’s a scenario in which NomCom might have no other choice.

NomCom operates under fairly strict regional diversity rules. It must ensure that there is at least one person on the board from each of ICANN’s five geographic regions, and it must not make an appointment if it would mean there would be more than five directors from any one region.

Sinha is one of the maximum five North Americans currently on the board. In a vacuum, NomCom could reappoint her, or replace her with another North American (or African, Asian or Latin American), without upsetting the diversity calculation.

However, NomCom isn’t the only entity selecting ICANN directors to take their seats in November; the ccNSO and Address Supporting Organization are also making picks.

The ccNSO has already confirmed that Katrina Sataki, a European, has been reappointed for another term, maintaining the status quo.

But there’s a chance the ASO may pick an American to fill its seat, meaning NomCom would be breaking ICANN’s bylaws if it appointed Sinha as a verboten sixth North American director.

As it happens, the ASO is holding its election this week, and there is an American, Lee Howard, on the ballot. He’s one of five candidates, including incumbent Alan Barrett, an African.

Is a vote for Howard in effect also an indirect vote to remove Sinha?

I should note that while NomCom always says which regions its selections come from, ICANN does not publish a definitive list of which directors represent which regions, so I’m doing the math partly using assumptions based on directors’ biographical details found on ICANN’s web site and LinkedIn.

Also potentially replaceable by NomCom is Jevtović, a European, who is coming to the end of his second three-year term, and Edmon Chung, from Asia-Pacific, approaching the end of his first.

Chung’s job may be less safe. The new gTLD program is due to begin in the next three years and Chung, as a registry CEO, is probably going to be recusing himself from an awful lot of discussions on conflict grounds.

The ASO will announce its selection May 14, well before NomCom finalizes its picks. NomCom plans to announce in August.

The post Could ICANN’s chair be ousted by NomCom? first appeared on Domain Incite.

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