Skip to main content

Internet Administration Group Names Beckstrom CEO

Rod Beckstrom, former head of the U.S. National Cybersecurity Center, has been selected as president and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the not-for-profit group that administers the Internet's IP addresses and domain names.

ICANN, which works with Internet service providers and Web companies worldwide, was established in 1998 by the U.S. Department of Commerce to provide independent coordination and oversight of the Internet's naming and address structure.

"Rod Beckstrom has exactly the sort of strong personal and technical background that ICANN needs, as we enter a period of unprecedented growth and change for the Internet," said ICANN chairman Peter Dengate Thrush in announcing the appointment.

Beckstrom (pictured left), 48, replaces Paul Twomey, who became ICANN's CEO in March 2003. The organization announced Beckstrom's appointment Friday at its 35th international meeting in Sydney, Australia.

"The importance of the Internet as a free flowing source of information is being underscored right now by the events in Iran," Beckstrom said in a statement. "It shows the power of human expression through a free and open Net."

Previously, Beckstrom was director of the Department of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity Center, established last year, where he coordinated the initiatives of the nation's top six cybersecurity centers in the civilian, military and intelligence communities. Before that he was chairman of Internet privacy company Privada, and is the co-author of four books, including The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations.

Beckstrom resigned in March as the DHS's cybersecurity chief, citing a lack of funding and efforts to fold his group into a facility at the National Security Agency, the Washington Postreported.

Industry leaders and politicians praised Beckstrom's selection.

"Rod's extensive technical and commercial expertise is world class, and I can think of no one better positioned to lead ICANN's critical mission as the Internet's role in society continues to increase in scope and importance," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in a statement.

Added Motorola chairman David Dorman, "I can think of no one more prepared to take this role on than Rod Beckstrom."

"I am pleased that ICANN elected Rod Beckstrom to serve as its next CEO, and look forward to working with him in the years to come. He is an intelligent and thoughtful individual who will provide the right kind of leadership for the organization," said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Commented Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), "I look forward to working with him, as we continue our efforts to make ICANN a more stable, accountable, transparent, and, most importantly, fully independent global organization."