Domain name 'superstar' to take the helm at Top Level

The former chairman of Icann, the governing body of internet domain names, is to join a small London-listed online company which hopes to profit from the next generation of "dot-brand" names.

Top Level Domain Holdings, which is listed on the Alternative Investment Market, will today announce Peter Dengate Thrush as its executive chairman.

Mr Dengate Thrush was chairman of Icann – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – from 2007 until last month. There he helped draw up plans to introduce new domain suffixes on the web. He oversaw the meeting last month in Singapore at which Icann approved the expansion of website domain names from next year to include companies, industries and activities.

Antony Van Couvering, chief executive of Top Level, said: "Peter is a superstar in our field. We are delighted to have him at the helm."

Top Level Domain is an internet registry business that is able to run any domains created through the new programme and has a range of bids in for domains including .nyc, .berlin and .mumbai.

Mr Dengate Thrush said the new generic top-level domains (gTLD) were a "major opportunity for the company and its investors, for applicants and for the internet community".

He has been involved in policy development and governance of the internet since 1995.

The domain .com and .net are run by VeriSign, while .biz is run by NeuStar, with both regulated by Icann. Icann was set up as a not-for-profit corporation in 1998 to keep the internet secure and stable. It is responsible for managing and coordinating the domain name system, ensuring every address is unique. The approval of the gTLD programme last month will allow companies to have their own name at the end of an internet address such as .coke or .apple.

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