In announcing that Kurt Pritz resigned from ICANN today due to a “recently identified conflict of interest” ICANN didn’t specify what the conflict was.
Apparently Kevin Murphy of Domainincite.com, reached out to Mr. Pritz who declined to comment and referred him back to ICANN.
This is not acceptable.
Kurt Pritz was not just ICANN’s Chief Strategy Officer, but for years has been the point man for the new gTLD program.
He is one of the highest paid employees of ICANN.
ICANN has collected 1/3 of a billion dollars in new gTLD application fees.
In his statement announcing the resignation, ICANN’s CEO Fadi Chehade said in part:
Kurt “will have no access to new gTLD applicant information nor will he play a role in the new gTLD program”.
So apparently the conflict involves the new gTLD program
So the questions are obvious and must be answered.
What is the conflict and when did it arise?
The new gTLD application period closed in May, meaning that since the end of May no additional applications were submitted to ICANN, so its pretty hard to image a circumstance involving a conflict of interest involving the new gTLD program that wasn’t known at that point and certain by the ICANN meeting in Toronto.
Clearly non-disclosure of the details of the conflict of interest is not acceptable.
ICANN needs to come clean.
In his first address at ICANN as CEO in Toronto Mr. Chehade spoke of transparency time and time again.
Now it the perfect time to for ICANN to do the right thing and tell those applicants who just gave ICANN over $350 million dollars to apply for a new gTLD, many of whom have spent years of their life on the program what exactly the conflict of is, when it was detected, why it wasn’t detected earlier.
The applicants and the members of the ICANN community deserve no less.