Three auDA members call for CEO to resign

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 10 April, 2018

Three auDA members call for CEO to resign

Three members of the .au Domain Administrator (auDA) are seeking to remove the body’s CEO and three of its directors due in part to ongoing controversy over the new direct registration policy for .au domains.

The three members are requesting that auDA hold a general meeting within two months to vote for resolutions including a no confidence vote in auDA CEO Cameron Boardman, and the removal of directors Chris Leptos, Sandra Hook and Suzanne Ewart.

Digital entrepreneur Josh Rowe, digital marketing company StewArt Media CEO Jim Stewart and former auDA general manager for international and government affairs Paul Szyndler are leading the call.

The group has set up a petition seeking to invoke the section of the Corporations Act requiring directors of a company to hold a general meeting at the request of members with at least 5% of the votes.

Former auDA chair Stuart Benjamin has already resigned prior to a vote to oust him at a previous special meeting called by members in July. While this was aimed at improving the confidence of auDA members in the body’s management, the signatories argue that many believe that things have only gotten worse.

The administrator specifically announced a new policy in February stipulating that the owner of any domain registered after April 2016 will not automatically be able to claim the .au version of the domain, paving the way for unaffiliated entities to swipe the .au version.

“Most people don’t fully understand the implications. For instance, a competitor may secure your domain name without the dot com,” Stewart commented.

“When the changes come into effect, any company can register say or causing confusion and cybersecurity issues. If a company was able to register their and just switched it on that would be a disaster, you would lose all your Google search traffic.”

The petition established by the disgruntled auDA members alleges that auDA has implemented the change in policy without even consulting large numbers of .au registrants, without publishing a business case to show the benefits of the new policy and without proper review by all stakeholders.

The members also criticised auDA for allegedly exhibiting poor communication with stakeholders and members, submitting to government a restructuring proposal drawn up with no member consultation and allowing demand class members to be under-represented on the auDA board since November last year.

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