Mike Palage has quit the ICANN Board, saying that he felt handcuffed and unable to give the Board the benefit of his knowledge and experience because of his conflicts of interests – mostly working for Afilias.
This is why he abstained in the dotcom vote. This is also why some right-wing nut in the US keeps sending him threatening letters about the .xxx domain. He also couldn't get stuck in on the dotnet fiasco.
I spoke to Mike a few hours ago – he still had jet-lag and so was up at 6am – and he told me he had found it “incredibly frustrating” not being able to get involved in important stuff. He also reckons – quite rightly in my view – that the next big thing on the horizon, new gTLDs, is the big crossroads for ICANN and the Internet and he doesn't want to be handcuffed again within ICANN.
He also, no doubt, doesn't want to miss out on the lucrative consulting fees he can expect to get in advising big companies on how to get their own TLDs. Especially since he has always been treated like a bit of a black sheep by the ICANN Board.
Mike also said he didn't like essentially not being able to speak to two old friends – Brett Fausett and John Berryhill – because they are consulting for CFIT, which is suing ICANN.
Unfortunately, he also refused to dish the dirt on all the dodgy goings-on that he's witnessed since April 2003 on the ICANN Board. Told me it would be “disrespectful”. If any of the other ICANN Board members want to provide me with their secret recordings of Board meetings (come on – I know one of you must have done it), please feel free. Confidentiality assured 🙂
Who will go for the spare space on the ICANN Board? Well, I reckon Philip Sheppard will go for it again. And Marilyn Cade will be tempted – after all she agreed to be on Twomey new super-committee. I reckon Milton Mueller should go for it – now might be just the right time for him.
Of course there is also the big questions coming up about who will take all the retiring Board positions – especially when Old Man Cerf *has* to leave and the whole ICANN shebang is up for grabs.
All this is assuming that ICANN exists in any real worthwhile form. It's just as likely that everyone goes their own way and ICANN just becomes a once-important but minor technical body in just five years' time. We shall see.