The line of argument is plain: Mark is alleging that if 5 directors are removed, the Government may intervene, take away Nominet’s independence, and remove the membership-based system of governance.
What you might call a hypothetical ‘Plan G’.
Mark’s markedly NOT saying the Government “will” step in. I doubt he can.
For a start, I think it is a reflection of Mark’s expectation that he is likely to lose the vote next Monday, that he is shifting the playing field to threaten ‘Do that, and the Government will intervene, and you’ll be left with zero participation in Nominet.’
‘The government can step in,” Mark explains, “if Nominet is ever considered unstable or not capable of governing itself.”
My question would be: “Why does a change of leadership make Nominet unstable or incapable of governing itself?”
Governments of whole countries change, without making those countries ‘incapable of governing themselves’. Are Russell and Mark, in person, so irreplaceable? It’s just a change of leadership. It happens all the time.
Mark goes on to suggest that the EGM petition is pressurising any remaining Board Directors “to install candidates outside normal procedures.” He is referring to the call in Resolution 2 (which he has refused to hold, alleging we wanted to ‘elect’ the replacements – incorrect) for the Board to appoint Sir Michael Lyons and Axel Pawlik (note ‘appointing’ not electing).
To be plain, the membership is entitled to take a view on who should be Chairman. As there will be NO Chair if Resolution1 passes, it is reasonable and responsible to draft in a man (Sir Michael) of great experience and acute understanding of Nominet (having carried out the review of Nominet in 2015, and as a former Chair of the BBC), as an interim or caretaker Chairman. It would just be a responsible interim measure.
No-one is saying that “normal procedures” would not then take place to confirm or repeal that interim measure. Everything would proceed in a normal orderly manner. There is no instability involved in all of this. And Mark Wood could himself set to work, co-operating in an orderly transfer of leadership to Sir Michael. Leadership changes. That happens in all companies.
I don’t think the Government need to see that as “instability”. It’s simply transition of leadership.
The EGM is not a “wrecking ball” as Mark claims. To suggest that is to be fairly derogatory towards 429 of the most engaged Nominet member companies, including the top 75% of UK members/companies in Nominet, and as you day in your article, major companies like Namecheap and Gandi.
Members simply want new leadership, as is their right and function, in law.
We’re talking about serious people who run serious companies and businesses, who have joined this call for a change in extraordinary numbers – 432 as I write.
If anything, the government should be disturbed that a Board and Executive have so alienated such huge numbers of members that they are now seeking better leadership.
It could be well argued that, subject to the remnant directors complying with what the members indicate they want at the EGM, Sir Michael is an almost ideal candidate to step in as an interim Chairman, and that orderly process will then lead in due course to orderly selection of further directors, orderly decisions, and a company back on an even keel where trust and confidence have been restored.
Due process is being followed by serious and committed members of Nominet, not to destroy, but to keep Nominet true to its founding principles, which are plainly in the interests of the UK and its namespace.
March 22nd begins that process.