Paul Twomey will later this month replace Stuart Lynn as president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization said Wednesday.

Twomey, an Australian national, has been appointed by the ICANN board of directors and will take over on Mar. 27, according to an ICANN statement. He will be the first non-U.S. citizen to head the global Internet oversight body, established in 1998, and faces the challenge of guiding ICANN through a major re-organization.

ICANN, based in Marina del Rey, California, oversees global Internet domain name administration, IP address allocation and root name server operation. The organization had been looking for a new leader since Lynn announced in May 2002 he would retire at the end of his contract in March 2003.

ICANN is in the midst of a large restructuring into what outgoing President and CEO Lynn has called ICANN 2.0. The renewed organization should be able to do the work it was created to do; oversee the Internet’s name space, ending years of discussion about the efficiency, or lack thereof, of ICANN, the organization’s leaders have said.

Twomey has been involved with ICANN since its founding, and for three years until November 2002 chaired the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee, a forum of representatives from global governments that advises the ICANN board of directors on public policy issues.

Twomey currently heads Sydney-based Internet consulting and investment company Argo P@cific Pty Ltd., which he founded. Prior to that he held various consulting roles in the IT area for international companies and for the Australian government.