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ICANN taps New Zealand lawyer to replace Cerf

The Internet overseer appoints Peter Thrush to be its new chairman, "a clear signal that ICANN has matured," Vint Cerf says.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has elected New Zealand lawyer Peter Dengate Thrush as its new chairman, replacing one of the Internet's "founding fathers," Vint Cerf.

ICANN, the not-for-profit organization that governs the Internet's domain name system, has elected Thrush, a specialist in intellectual property and Internet law, in a unanimous decision to replace Cerf, co-creator of the TCP/IP protocol.

"ICANN has moved from a foundation state to a steady state," Cerf said in a statement.

Cerf indicated that Thrush's understanding of the transition made him the preferred candidate "to keep the organization strong and focused," and described the appointment as "a clear signal that ICANN has matured."

Thrush has been involved with ICANN since its inception in 1998 and, before being elected to the chairman's position, was serving on the ICANN president's strategy and executive committees.

ICANN President Paul Twomey said Thrush's legal background is an important asset for the advancement of the organization and singled out his experience with contract law, which Twomey describes as a "key mechanism" in ICANN.

The agency will now set to work on better catering to an international audience.

"ICANN is a unique model supporting a global community, which works because it stands for one global Internet that is coordinated and not controlled," Thrush said.

Italy's Roberto Gaetano was unanimously re-elected as ICANN's vice chairman.

Marcus Browne of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.