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Nominet announces Baroness as new chair

Rennie Fritchie to head Board of dot-uk registry

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A Baroness, Dame Commander, pro-chancellor, and training and development expert has been chosen as the new chair of dot-uk registry Nominet.

Baroness Rennie Fritchie replaces former chairman Bob Gilbert, who stepped down in March, and she takes over from interim chairman Gordon Dick.

She becomes chair at an interesting time: in February, Nominet members finally passed a series of structural changes to the organization’s constitution, and focus has now turned to a range of other issues, including additional DNS security, rules around the registration of dot-uk domains, and a revamp of Nominet’s policy development arm.

As an expert in and author of books covering conflict resolution, Baroness Fritchie may have the skills needed to navigate a difficult path through Nominet’s membership, the majority of which never engage with the organization and a vocal minority of which are often fiercely critical of the organization’s Board.

As someone with extensive experience in government – she is not only a crossbench peer but for six years was responsible for monitoring and advising on ministerial appointments – Baroness Fritchie should also put to rest fears emanating from the government that Nominet may run out of control.

In the much-derided Digital Economy Bill, passed in an extreme rush just prior to the recent general election, the government awarded itself the right to take over management of the dot-uk registry if it felt there was just cause to do so. Even with Nominet’s recent constitutional changes and with momentum building behind a plan to revisit or scrap parts of the Digital Economy Bill, the civil service is likely to wish to retain its lever of power over Nominet.

Irene Tordoff Fritchie is little known in the Internet industry but was recently chair of the Web Science Research Institute at Southampton University – where much of the innovative academic thinking in the UK around the Internet is emerging. She also has a range of other interesting qualifications in her CV.

She will not be the only new face on the Board. Under the recent changes made, a new additional non-executive director is added to the Board and Piers White (MBE) has been chosen. White has a business and banking background and is a non-executive director of a number of other organizations.

You are read more about both on Nominet’s announcement of the two new appointment here. ®

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