£65m to be invested in public benefit across three years
Domain prices frozen until 2024
Statement confirms immediate actions to address members’ concerns around remuneration, financial strategy and transparency
The new Chair of Nominet, Andy Green, has outlined his vision for the future of Nominet and the steps the company plans to implement to ensure the domain registry and public benefit company is a force for good in the UK digital economy.
The Statement, which was shared with members today, proposes a significant increase in Nominet’s public benefit funding in the coming years. It commits £5m annually from Nominet’s revenues to projects that help the digital economy and society. However, the proposal goes further – committing a further £50m across three years from Nominet’s financial reserves. These reserves were previously held for the company’s acquisition strategy, but that is now being replaced by a renewed focus on public benefit.
The scale of this commitment will make Nominet one of the most active and significant backers of public benefit in the digital economy. To manage the increased investment, the Board has proposed the creation of a new Board committee that will bring in external advisors with direct experience of helping oversee charitable projects.
Against a backdrop of inflationary pressures and price increases for popular competitors such as .com, the Chair’s reviews have also led to a decision to maintain wholesale .UK pricing at current levels until 2024 at the earliest.
In order to increase efficiency, Nominet’s Board has agreed to move away from the previous strategy of creating a portfolio of complementary cyber security businesses and has started a process to sell its CyGlass subsidiary. The network-centric cyber company was acquired by Nominet in 2020 but does not align closely with Nominet’s focus of delivering public benefit through the .UK registry, protecting public services, and supporting charitable initiatives.
However, the Board has committed to the Nominet Protective DNS (PDNS) business which does align closely with the company’s commitment to working in the public interest and pursuing activities that make the world more connected, inclusive and secure. In the UK, Nominet runs PDNS on behalf of the National Cyber Security Centre; a vital service which now reaches over 900 public sector organisations and over 1000 health and social care organisations across 12,000 sites. Nominet’s cyber team will focus on developing its services while ensuring it contributes positively to Nominet’s finances by 2024.
Other measures outlined in the Chair’s Statement directly address concerns raised by members. The Statement was informed by ongoing feedback from a comprehensive Listening Process as well as informal discussions with members.
Following the closure of the long-term incentive scheme which supplemented executive pay, Nominet will publish a revised remuneration policy and has committed to reporting on its approach each year.
The Chair has also promised members enhanced levels of transparency, delivered through new and existing advisory councils and communication channels, complemented by a half-yearly financial reporting.
The Chair’s Statement has been released ahead of an AGM in which members will vote on his position.
Nominet Chair Andy Green comments: “My statement is designed to send a clear message to members – at Nominet, purpose is now placed above profit. We are committed to running an efficient company, without compromising our ability to run critical infrastructure and deliver a service of the highest quality. And we are committed to a more open and collaborative relationship with members. In all of these matters, we have reviewed what we do, identified where we can do better, and committed to necessary corrective action. It is now up to members to vote at our AGM in November on whether they want to see this plan brought to life. I would stress that this is an interim update for members. I want to take concrete steps now but intend to build on this programme, if appointed, to restore trust between Nominet and its members.”
Andy is one of the UK’s most experienced directors and business leaders. He is a National Infrastructure Commissioner and Chair of WaterAid UK and Vice Chair of the Disasters Emergency Committee. He was formerly CEO of BT Openworld, BT Global Services and Logica.