After its latest public meeting in Singapore in June, ICANN has seen some turnover in its staff, especially in some high-profile positions. Notably, Peter Dengate Thrush, Chair of the ICANN Board, left the organization to serve as the Executive Chairman at Top Level Domain Holdings (TLDH), parent company of Minds + Machines, a company that provides new gTLD services to applicants.
As the National Business Review reports, ICANN has also appointed a new Ombudsman, a role that is responsible for mediating any disputes that arise between ICANN and its stakeholders. Chris LaHatte, a barrister from New Zealand, has stepped into this role. Although ICANN is based in Marina Del Rey, CA, LaHatte will continue to work out of Wellington, New Zealand.
The Ombudsman role is likely to expand greatly with the expansion of the gTLD namespace just months away. Fortunately, LaHatte has a good deal of experience with mediation and alternative dispute resolution from his years as a barrister, as well as being the father of three teenagers. In his address to the ICANN community, he points out that he practices his conflict resolution skills on them.