At at time when the number of top-level domains is being expanded to unprecedented levels, who leads the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or, ICANN, is critical. The corporation is responsible for, in its own words, “providing technical operations of vital DNS resources, ICANN also defines policies for how the ‘names and numbers’ of the Internet should run.”

In other words, ICAAN is one of the foundational elements that gird the Internet. Without ICAAN, for example, Google.com might not always lead to Google, Inc.’s website in some countries. ICAAN keeps all digital trains running on the same schedule, and rail gauge.

Now, to the new man: Fadi Chehadé. Mr. Chehadé will replace Rod Beckstrom. Mr. Beckstrom, according to The Hill, has chosen to resign at the end of his term, instead of seeking another.

Fadi Chehadé is quite impressive on paper. As noted on ICANN”s website, he is a citizen of Egypt, the United States, and Lebanon. Even more, he speaks Arabic, English, Italian, and French, all fluently. Given that ICANN is a global institution, that level of linguistic prowess and international cosmopolitanism is perhaps exactly what the group needs.

ICANN is allowing for a fundamental shift in how the Internet works at the moment, making this instant, and this power change especially weighty. Up for request and registration are new ‘gTLDs,’ or ‘generic top level domains.’ Companies have been bidding for them in droves, with nearly 2,000 putting in applications. The World Wide Web will soon sport .apple and .app domains, along with a plethora more. Here’s the procedure that the applicants are currently a part of:

From July 12th, independent review panels will review both the applicants and the proposed TLDs themselves. Applicants need both the finances and the technical capability to run a domain name registry, and domain names must be checked to ensure they don’t disrupt DNS. Domains are expected to go live from the first quarter of 2013.

Mr. Chehadé will not start his assignment as president until the start of October. The COO of ICANN will stand in during the July to October gap. For more on the gTLD situation, head here.

Top Image Credit: Veni Markovski