Following on from the announcement last night that ICANN chief Rod Beckstrom would be stepping down next year there has been a lot of chatter going on via email, twitter, facebook and other media.
One question that has been raised by a few people was very practical.
What is going to happen to the Palo Alto offices?
ICANN observers may recall that one of the terms associated with hiring Rod Beckstrom was the lease of offices in Palo Alto.
The ccNSO, which is the organisation within ICANN where ccTLD people interact, has a track record of questioning ICANN’s finances or, more precisely, how ICANN spends money.
Chris Disspain, who is now on the ICANN board, but was chair of the ccNSO in March 2010, submitted formal queries to ICANN’s CFO at the time, Kevin Wilson. One of the questions Chris asked was in relation to offices in the US:
“2. What were the new facilities and how much money was spent on them?”
Response: Two new facilities were opened in FY10. The first new facility is in Washington DC, which was a move, rather than an actual new facility. This move was required to accommodate additional staff while taking advantage of office space cost efficiencies. As described in the board resolution http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/minutes-09dec09-en.htm, expenses are expected to start out at less than $400,000 per year, and not to exceed $600,000 per year during the lease term.”. Although the size of the office has been increased to accommodate more staff, the longer term commitment for space and utilizing a space with less costly services, results in no change to overall costs for office occupancy.
The second new facility was in Palo Alto. The ICANN Board agreed to open a Palo Alto, CA office as one of the terms of entering into the relationship with ICANN’s new CEO and President at the beginning of the fiscal year. Interim full service Regus office space was obtained for staff to use in Palo Alto costing less than $200k in FY10. In addition, as described in the Board resolution http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/prelim-report-30sep09.htm, a new longer term lease was executed to meet needs for current staff, including the CEO and to attract technically oriented talent for new staff. The occupancy costs, including amortized leasehold improvements, start out at less than $400,000 per year, and not to exceed $600,000 per year during the lease term. In FY10, leasehold improvement plans have been developed to complete the build out of the space, which are expected to cost $500k to $600k (net of tenant improvement allowance). No additional occupancy costs have been spent except for the Regus temporary space at this time.
So ICANN has now got itself a 10 year lease on an office in Palo Alto supposedly to “attract technically oriented talent for new staff” and not just because it was some kind of stipulation linked to the contract with Rod Beckstrom ..
- ICANN Community Reactions To Beckstrom Resignation (internetnews.me)
- ICANN Chief Announces Departure Via Twitter (circleid.com)
- ICANN Chief Announces Departure Via Twitter (internetnews.me)
- ICANN Official Release On Beckstrom Departure (internetnews.me)