Feeds

Nominet director quits over boardroom rift

Players square up in battle for .uk

Business security measures using SSL

One of Nominet's four non-executive directors has resigned amid accusation and counter accusation of wrongdoing at the not-for-profit company that runs the .uk registry.

Angus Hanton, a self-described domainer*, was elected to the board in May 2007. In his resignation letter to fellow directors on Wednesday he said he was unhappy with how Nominet's top executives Lesley Cowley and Bob Gilbert are running the company.

Hanton told The Register: "It's not corporate governance that is the issue, it's corporate behaviour."

His resignation comes two weeks after Nominet announced an independent review of its corporate structure, citing a request from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) to justify its independence from Whitehall.

In the Nominet boardroom, Hanton has been most closely allied with Jim Davies, a solicitor elected in May 2008 who has frequently acted for domainers. On Monday this week Davies called on CEO Cowley and and Chairman Gilbert to face a vote of confidence from members. The Nominet executive counters that Davies has significant conflicts of interest and has refused to sign a declaration that he will act in the best interests of all Nominet members and the wider UK internet.

Today Hanton rejected suggestions from some observers, including other board members, that he was part of a deliberate attempt by domainers to destabilise Nominet.

"That's rubbish. There's no suggestion of a takeover. We just want it to be properly run," he said. "The reason I joined the board was to help with member engagement and be constructive."

Hanton alleges a lack of openness, over-reliance on lawyers and specific failures concerning staff discipline, although he declined to provide details.

In his resignation letter he wrote: "The company is meant to be controlled by, and answerable to, its membership as well as having duties to the wider community. My firm impression is that some other directors would like to eliminate the membership's control of the organisation and are not committed to the company's not-for-profit objectives."

In response to Jim Davies' resignation call a group of eight former non-executive directors wrote to Bob Gilbert on Tuesday in support of the current regime.

"We have seen no credible evidence of any wrongdoing by either of you [Cowley and Gilbert]. Further, change of executive leadership at this difficult time would be hugely damaging to the company and to its stakeholders."

The two other current non-executive directors, Gordon Dick and Sebastien Lahtinen, also backed the executives. "We believe that you have both worked tirelessly to further the development of Nominet and the .uk domain in the interests of our members and all stakeholders since your appointment and to suggest otherwise is palpable nonsense," they wrote.

Hanton said his resignation would not automatically trigger an emergency company meeting, but that larger Nominet members might insist on it. Nominet was not immediately available for comment today. ®

*Someone who buys up web addresses either to sell on at a profit or to provide ongoing revenue via parking pages that carry sponsored links.

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.