Earlier today ICANN announced that they had appointed Baher Esmat as the new Managing Director for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) office in Istanbul . He’ll be replacing Nick Tomasso who was in the role since 2017. Tomasso took on the role in addition to being in charge of ICANN’s meetings team.
The appointment of Baher Esmat is quite logical. He’s been with ICANN for several years and is currently Vice President, Stakeholder Engagement, Middle East. He’ll keep on that role in his new position. Not only does he know the region well, but he’s also used to working within the ICANN environment long enough to know how it works:
Esmat joined ICANN in 2006 as Regional Manager, Global Partnerships, Middle East. During his 14-year tenure at ICANN org, he has led the organization’s engagement efforts in the Middle East and overseen the development of regional engagement plans.
In his new role, Esmat will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the regional office in Istanbul. He will work with its functional teams to facilitate engagement and outreach activities in the region and ensure that the office serves the MEA region needs in alignment with ICANN’s 2021-2025 strategic plan.
He’s currently based in Cairo, so I assume he’ll be moving to Istanbul at some point, though that wasn’t stated explicitly in the official announcement. In any case with the current travel restrictions in many countries and the general lack of face to face events I suspect he’ll be doing a lot of the day to day work remotely for now.
ICANN has several offices around the world, with the headquarters in Los Angeles.
In Europe there are two offices at present.
The first one to open its doors was in Brussels, while the second one, which came much later, is in Istanbul. Up until relatively recently it looked like ICANN was going to shutter the Brussels office, but over the past couple of years it became clear that ICANN had recognised the importance of maintaining an office at the heart of Europe and, possibly more importantly, the European Union.