Outgoing ICANN Chairman, Peter Dengate Thrush, Joining Minds + Machines as Executive Chairman

According to the Independent.co.uk, the outgoing chairman of ICANN Peter Dengate Thrush  is joining Minds + Machines as its executive chairman.

The article quotes Antony Van Couvering, CEO of publicly traded Top Level Domain Holdings, otherwise known as Minds+Machines as saying:

“Peter is a superstar in our field. We are delighted to have him at the helm”

Peter Dengate Thrush was chairman of ICANN  from 2007 through the last the ICANN meeting in Singapore at which ICANN voted to approve the new gTLD program.

Its quite an impressive move in our opinion by Minds + Machines with came out with a flat fee back end structure just a week after the new gTLD program was approved by ICANN.

In our opinion, there isn’t anyone with a better reputation or more respected in the ICANN community  than Mr. Thrush.

I think its also quite fair to say that Mr. Thrush was quite essential in the new gTLD program being approved by ICANN.

Certainly another bold move by Minds+Machines and our congrats go out to them and Mr. Thrush

Top Level Holdings is one of the stocks we track on our Domain Stock Parking Index and is a back end registry and consulting firm for new gTLD which seems to be concentrating in the Geo space, seeking to operate the registries for such domain name extensions as .nyc, .paris and .berlin to name a few.

For the record,  here is the official press release which was put out several hours after our story published:

“”Top Level Domain Holdings Limited (“TLDH” or the “Company”)”

Peter Dengate Thrush appointed as Chairman

The Directors of Top Level Domain Holdings Limited (AIM: TLDH.L), the only publicly traded company focused exclusively on acquiring and operating new generic top-level domains (“gTLD”), are delighted to announce that Mr Peter Dengate Thrush has been appointed Executive Chairman of the Company with immediate effect. Mr Dengate Thrush was until recently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”), where in June 2011 he led the ICANN Board to approve the programme to create new gTLDs.

Antony Van Couvering, CEO of TLDH, said:

“Peter will be an outstanding asset to TLDH. Peter and I have worked together as ICANN participants since its inception, and I am very pleased to welcome him as our Executive Chairman. Peter championed successfully the approval of the new gTLD programme at the highest levels and with Peter on board I have every confidence we will achieve the same success at TLDH. I can’t think of a better addition to our team – Peter is a superstar in our field, and we are delighted to have him at the helm.”

New Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush said:

“I am delighted to be welcomed to this first-class team, which has had an extensive and productive involvement with the new gTLD programme and which has stood out as innovative, bold, and effective.  New gTLDs represent a major opportunity for the Company and its investors, for TLD applicants and for the Internet community, and I welcome the chance to make a contribution.”

“The new gTLD programme is a very significant evolution in how we understand and navigate the Internet and as a result, the creation of every web site will involve a real choice of top-level domain, and every email sent will reinforce that choice.  I am delighted to join a company that understands that opportunity.”

Former Chairman of TLDH Fred Krueger said:

“Peter has unparalleled experience, universal respect, a history of success, and is well known to customers and our investors.  We are excited about the potential for the development of the Company under his leadership.”

Mr Dengate Thrush has been actively involved in international policy development and governance of the Internet since 1995 and is a regular media commentator on Internet issues. Peter is a past Chairman of InternetNZ and past Chairman of the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association. A barrister and registered patent attorney specialising in intellectual property matters, Peter is Vice Chairman of the New Zealand Electricity Rulings Panel and a member of the New Zealand Copyright Tribunal.

Following these Board changes the composition of the Board of the Company is as follows:

Peter Dengate Thrush, Executive Chairman
Antony Van Couvering, Chief Executive Officer
Fred Krueger, Chief Strategy Officer and Deputy Chairman
Guy Elliott, Chief Investment Officer
David de Jongh Weill, Chief Financial Officer
Clark Landry, Non-executive Director
Michael Mendelson, Non-executive Director

Further information::


Peter Charles Dengate Thrush (aged 55) has held the following directorships in companies or partnerships in the past five years:

Current Directorships:

Former Directorship / Partnership:

BrainFuel Limited
Worldwide Alliance of ccTLDs Limited

Bluejeans and Moonbeams Limited (formerly Observatory Crest Digital Limited

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers”””


  1. MHB says


    Why is it a conflict of interest?

    He is somehow barred from participating in anything domains because he served on ICANN or something?

    Where do you think most government officials go to work after they finish doing the government thing?

    Pretty much to work for a company in the field the regulated.

  2. says

    This reminds me of the following story a few months ag0 –

    “Four months after the Federal Communications Commission approved the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, one of the commissioners who approved the deal said she would join Comcast to oversee its government affairs office.”

    You have someone from a regulatory body, who is responsible for passing the gTLD program, now joining a company operating in that specific niche.

    It does seem like a conflict of interest to me.


  3. MHB says


    I understand what you are saying but like I said and you just gave me an example of it happens regularly with government officials and of course ICANN ins’t even a governmental agency, so it clearly is proper under the law and not regarded to be a conflict.

  4. says


    You can frame it how you want, but when you have members of regulatory bodies then joining companies like this, it looks extremely shady.


  5. Jp says

    I’d like to point out that just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t make it not shady. Things are decided illegal by a group of people none of us have ever met. They are almost an arbitrary group of people, but somehow not because a majority of people voted for them. Which wasn’t necessarily you. The difference between illegal and shady is if it is illegal someone with a weapon will eventually come for you.

    So yea nothing illegal about this move. Just not the kind of thing everyone will approve of.

  6. says

    Definitely seems shady. Help push something through and then leave directly to work for the company that was lobbying you to push it through. What a nice little reward…

    Mike, if you don’t see something wrong there, I think maybe your new association with M&M may be blinding you to the fact.

  7. MHB says


    we were but appearently we are having all sorts of problems with the plugin (as you can see on the right) after the last WP update

    Adam is working on it

  8. John Berryhill says

    “You can frame it how you want, but when you have members of regulatory bodies then joining companies like this, it looks extremely shady.”

    In most instances, though, what are they qualified to do?

    If someone in a widget regulatory agency who has spent 10 years studying and understanding widgets and widget regulations decides to get a job elsewhere, what is he/she supposed to do? Start a cattle ranch?

  9. says


    Theoretically speaking here but how would you feel if a judge in a court hearing awarded a huge claim against to you to someone else and then immediately retired and went on to work for that person/organization a month after. Knowing that he was most likely being wined and dined by the other person/organization during the decision I don’t think you would not feel that something was amiss.

  10. LS Morgan says

    I haven’t really kept up with it- is Minds+Machines going to be in the TLD ownership business in addition to the consulting/services business?
    If so, does anyone know what TLDs they’re going after?

    I have a bit of high risk wiggle room in my allocation. Might be worth looking at.

  11. Gazzip says

    Lets just hope ICANN can still live up to their mission and ensure the stable and secure operation of the Internet’s unique identifier systems once their most experienced employees jump ship to go work in the .whatever market.

    How ironic if they can’t 😉

    How long before Beckstrom bails out ?

  12. Gazzip says

    “I haven’t really kept up with it- is Minds+Machines going to be in the TLD ownership business in addition to the consulting/services business?”

    Looks like their Daddy is 😉

    “TLDH intends to make targeted investments in this space, focusing on both infrastructure technologies and specific top level domains. ”


    mindsandmachines is a subsiduary or TLDH – tldh.org/

    No idea what .whatevers they are going for but I bet it will be loads of em.

  13. John Berryhill says

    “Theoretically speaking here but how would you feel if a judge in a court hearing awarded a huge claim against to you to someone else and then immediately retired and went on to work for that person/organization a month after.”

    That’s why we give judges lifetime appointments, at least at the federal level.

    However, PDT was not the “judge” of anything here. The ICANN new TLD program pre-dated his tenure of one seat on the board, and would have passed without his vote. One of the original functions of ICANN was to figure out a process for introducing new TLDS, and the present program is the third round (after the 2000 round and the smattering of sTLD’s that were introduced a few years ago).

    It’s not as if whether there were going to be new TLD’s was a question over which he exercised personal control. The question has simply been “how” not “if”. The board members over the years have had a variety of views on the subject, but their role has been simply to vote up or down on the proposals that the community developed.

  14. John Berryhill says

    And, by the way, I am doubtful that new TLD’s are going to be financially rewarding. My opinion has always been that I don’t see what is so awful in allowing people to try to make a go of it, and I wish them the best of luck, but I wouldn’t bet on any of the horses in this race.

    Then again, I’ve been wrong before, so this wouldn’t be the first time.

  15. MHB says

    I also think it worth mentioning that most of the Board servers without compensation

    I think Peter compensation was set at a pretty reasonable $100K a year and I think that just started in 2010 before then no compensation

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