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New boss at key Web agency

THE Internet agency that has oversight of the monikers behind every Website, e-mail address and Twitter post named former United States cyber security chief Rod Beckstrom yesterday as its next chief executive.

The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers approved his hiring in a voice vote yesterday as ICANN capped weeklong meetings in Sydney, Australia. Beckstrom becomes CEO next Wednesday.

Beckstrom, who had resigned after less than a year as cyber security director amid persistent turf battles, brings credentials in industry, government and diplomacy -- but little direct experience with domain names and broader Internet addressing issues, ICANN's chief mission. In an interview with The Associated Press, Beckstrom said that won't be a problem because he saw his job as bringing various constituencies with various expertise together, rather than creating policies himself.

"Our job at ICANN is to facilitate that dialogue and process," he said. "I don't see myself as being the leading source or expert."

Beckstrom, 48, replaces Paul Twomey, ICANN's third and longest-serving chief executive. Twomey, an Australian who became CEO in March 2003, plans to stay with the organization in the newly created position of senior president until the end of the year.

The US government, which funded much of the Internet's early development, selected ICANN in 1998 to oversee policies on domain names -- the ".com" and other suffixes that define zones on the Internet.

Based in Marina del Rey, California, the nonprofit organization is in the midst of revamping procedures for adding domain name suffixes, a move likely to spawn hundreds or thousands of new Internet addresses in the coming years.

ICANN also is close to allowing entire Internet addresses to be in languages other than English for the first time in Internet history, potentially opening the Web up to more people around the world.


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