Comment on Chair and Board Compensation
Over the course of the last several years, ICANN has moved from a financially vulnerable organization to one that operates on a >$ 50 million annual budget. As a result, the president has been able to attract and retain a higher quality and quantity level of staff with comparatively high salaries. In fact, it appears that there are at least five staff members earning more than USD 300,000 per year. The CEO and President's salary and associated bonuses appears to be twice that amount. By comparison, the ICANN Chairman, who arguably spends considerable time on ICANN leadership and governance issues in order to fulfill the responsibilities he has as Board chair, is paid nothing. ICANN is arguably a complex and intricate organization to oversee as a Board Chair. Governance of the organization lies in the hands of the Board and Board Chair. It is critical that the Board members, especially the Chair, be able to devote the needed time to the governance that the community expects to be exercised on their behalf. The stark gap between the top administrative person and the top Board representative - the two individuals who effectively share equal responsibility for the well being and survival of the organization - is incomprehensible. While both are actively involved in the leadership of ICANN, it is mind-boggling that the Chair position is not yet compensated. Historically, ICANN has been a volunteer organization, apart from paid staff to "keep the trains running on time". As time has progressed, the grand experiment of ICANN has become a global institution in its own right. Clearly, the amount of time spent by the Board Members and Board Chair digesting information and considering determinations that ensure the stability and integrity of the Internet demands an appropriate amount of compensation to match the effort expended. The current gross inequity in financial disparity cannot be allowed to stand as it is today if ICANN expects to attract an equally qualified and talented individual as its current Chairman, Peter Dengate-Thrush, as well as a dedicated Board of Directors who can then be held more accountable for their decisions. Therefore, we strongly recommend that the Board follow the section of the Boston Consulting Group recommendation on Board compensation and move immediately to provide compensation for the ICANN Board of Directors and Chairman. While not all Board Members will necessarily be in a position to accept compensation (either due to commercial agreements with their employers or other reason) we support the recommendation of paying each Board Member for their service to the organization. We further support the Chairman earning two to three times the Board Member compensation for his/her commitment of time, oversight and provision of governance. Until the issue of appropriate compensation for the Board and Chairman have been adequately addressed, ICANN will find itself with an ever-diminishing ability to attract the best and brightest to serve at the highest level of the Internet community. Thank you for your consideration. Respectfully submitted, Ron Andruff President & CEO RNA Partners, Inc.