GNSO Council Chair James Bladel has resigned, after it emerged that GoDaddy, his employer, is not eligible for office under registrar rules.
He will continue to occupy the post on an interim basis until either his term expires or a new election is held.
Bladel was elected to represent the Registrars Stakeholder Group on the Council back in 2013 and was elected by the Council as chair in late 2015.
However, the RrSG has just discovered that he’s actually ineligible for elected office under its charter because GoDaddy is also a dot-brand registry.
The RrSG charter states that in order to avoid conflicts of interest, a registrar that also has a Specification 9 exemption from the registry Code of Conduct in an ICANN registry conduct may not hold office.
GoDaddy signed its .godaddy registry agreement, which includes the Spec 9 exemption, in July 2015. The gTLD is not currently being used.
GoDaddy is of course the largest registrar in the industry, but it appears its ability to wield power in ICANN’s policy-making bodies now appears to be hamstrung by its foray into new gTLDs.
Bladel’s resignation is not expected to have any significant impact on GNSO Council work.
He’s been reappointed by the RrSG executive committee on an interim basis until elections can be held for a replacement. His term is due to expire in November anyway.