Obituary: Stéphane van Gelder, 1967-2018

Stéphane van Gelder died on 26 March 2018 in a hospital, after a road accident three days earlier.

A founding member of our Association, Stéphane will be remembered as an example of multi-stakeholder engagement in Internet matters. With a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Sussex University in the United Kingdom, Stéphane started his professional life not as an Internet specialist but as as a journalist, reporting on motor sports for the French newspapers Moto Journal and L’Equipe, and later for Eurosport, the TV channel, where he provided live commentary for Grand Prix MotoGP.

Stéphane entered the domain name business in the late 1990s with TLD Fastrack Ltd. In 1999 he founded Indom, a registrar in France, which later became part of GroupNBT based in the United Kingdom. Also in the UK, he was the Chairman of Milathan, ”a provider of domain name and Internet intelligence’’. With his primary residence in France and professional involvement on both sides of the Channel, Stéphane was perfectly at ease in both countries, their languages and cultures. He was also involved with French registry Starting Dot before it was acquired by Afilias in 2016. From 2010 to 2014 he served the Internet community as a member of the Board of Afnic, the non-profit organization created in 1998  and which manages the French TLD suffixes on the Internet. He was also a member of the Board of ISOC-France, the French Chapter of the Internet Society.

Over the past decade, Stéphane held various volunteer positions in ICANN. In 2008 he was elected Treasurer of ICANN’s Registrar Stakeholder Group, and as that group’s European representative on the GNSO Council. In 2009 he was elected as Vice Chair of the GNSO, then elected Chair in 2010 and again in 2011. During his tenure, a number of tasks were carried forward. The GNSO operating procedures were renovated. Along with ALAC, ccNSO and NRO, the GNSO set up tne DNS Security and Stability Analysis Working Group. The GNSO also helped set up the IRTP (domain name Recovery & Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy). It contributed to the UDRP (Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy). And in 2012, GNSO was involved in the completion of the New gTLD Programme Applicant Guidebook. Stéphane will likewise be remembered for his service as Chair of ICANN’s Nominating Committee (NomCom) in 2016, for which he received well-deserved praise.

Since Stéphane’s tragic death, many people have underlined his competence, his social skills, his achievements in the domain name industry and in the Internet community. Among many other testimonies, the Chair of the Board of Directors of ICANN has dwelt on Stéphane’s meritorious achievements as Chair of the GNSO and later as Chair of the NomCom. The domain name industry website CircleID published an obituary notice. Stéphane will also be remembered by motorcycle enthusiasts as a dynamic and pleasant companion.

On behalf of its Members and Associate Members, the Board of the EURALO Individuals’ Association presents heartfelt condolences to Stéphane van Gelder’s family, friends, ICANN colleagues and business associates.

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