Centre for Internet & Society

CIS sent ICANN a request under its Documentary Information Disclosure Policy, seeking details of its oragnisational structure and headcount of all staff. CIS' request and ICANN's response are detailed below.


CIS Request

13 January 2015


Mr. Steve Crocker, Chairman of the Board

Mr. Fadi Chehade, President and CEO

Mr. Samiran Gupta, ICANN India

Sub: ICANN organogram

In order to understand ICANN’s organizational structure, decision-making and day-to-day functioning, may we request an organogram of ICANN. We request that the organogram include ICANN’s reporting hierarchy, mentioning positions held in all departments. Wherever possible (such as middle and senior management), we request names of the ICANN staff holding the positions as well. Along with this, could you also provide a count per department of the number of ICANN staff employed in all departments as of this date?

We await your favorable response and the requested information within the prescribed time limit. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require any clarifications.

Thank you very much.

Warm regards,

Geetha Hariharan

Centre for Internet & Society

W: http://cis-india.org


ICANN Response

ICANN does not provide all the information we requested, but it responded with the following:

First, ICANN has responded that its current staff headcount is approx. 310. ICANN states that it already makes publicly available an organisational chart. This is immensely useful, for it sets out the reporting hierarchies at senior and mid-managerial levels. However, it doesn't tell us the organisational structure categorised by all departments and staff in the said departments. The webpages of some of ICANN's departments list out some of its staff; for instance, Contractual Compliance, Global Stakeholder Engagement and Policy Development (scroll down).

What you will notice is that ICANN provides us a list of staff, but we cannot be sure whether the team includes more persons than those mentioned. Second, a quick glance at the Policy Development staff makes clear that ICANN selects from outside this pool to coordinate the policy development. For instance, the IANA Stewardship Transition (the CWG-IANA) is supported by Ms. Grace Abuhamad, who is not a member of the policy support staff, but coordinates the IANA mailing list and F2F meetings anyway. What this means is that we're no longer certain who within ICANN is involved in policy development and support, whom they report to, and where the Chinese walls lie. This is why an organogram is necessary: the policy-making and implementation functions in ICANN may be closely linked because of staff interaction, and effective Chinese walls would benefit from public scrutiny.

Now, ICANN says that one may explore staff profiles on the Staff page. While short biographies/profiles are available for most staff on the Staff page, it's unclear what departments they work in, how many staff members work each in department, whom they report to, and what the broad range of their responsibilities include.

Privacy concerns do not preclude the disclosure of such information for two reasons. First, staff profiles imply a consent to making staff information public (at least their place in the organisational structure, if not their salaries, addresses, phone extension numbers, etc.). Second, such information is necessary and helpful to scrutinise the effectiveness of ICANN's functioning. Like the example of the policy-making process mentioned above, greater transparency in internal functioning will itself serve as a check against hazards like partisanism, public comment aggregation, drafting of charters for policy-making and determining scope, etc. While the functioning itself may or need not change, scrutiny can ensure responsibility from ICANN and its staff.

ICANN's response to our DIDP request may be found here. A short summary of our request and ICANN's response may be found in this table (Request S. no. 8).

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