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CEO of Internet oversight group to step down

Paul Twomey will stay at the helm until the board appoints a successor at ICANN, an organization about to make some major changes.

The president and CEO of ICANN, the nonprofit responsible for the Internet's domain name system, announced on Monday he will be stepping down from his position at the end of 2009.

Paul Twomey, president and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, made the announcement at the organization's 34th International Public Meeting in Mexico City.

"While I am deeply and personally committed to ICANN and its success, I think this is the right time for me to move on to another leadership position in the private or international sectors," he said, according to a statement released Monday.

Twomey was named president and CEO of the organization in 2003, after serving as the founding chairman of ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee. He has been the longest serving CEO of the Marina Del Rey, Calif., nonprofit.

"I can think of no other person who has had more influence on the course of ICANN's evolution than Paul," Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist and former chairman of the ICANN board, said in a statement. "We owe him a great debt for long and faithful service."

Twomey will stay on as president until the ICANN board appoints a successor. Once a successor is named, Twomey will finish the year as "senior president" to help with the transition.

Twomey's announcement comes just months before the U.S. Commerce Department's oversight of the ICANN expires. The organization will become completely independent this September. ICANN is also in the midst of expanding the number of generic top-level domains for sale, a move opposed by companies concerned with protecting their brand names online.

Before joining ICANN, Twomey founded Argo P@cific, an international advisory and investment firm specializing in building Internet and technology businesses. He also served as CEO of the Australian National Office for the Information Economy.