LONDON--Former Hill + Knowlton Strategies CEO Sally Costerton has resurfaced with a new consultancy that has been tapped to provide stakeholder support for internet NGO ICANN.
Costerton departed her role as EMEA CEO at H+K at the end of 2011, after 12 years with the agency.
She has now launched her own advisory firm, following the expiry of her non-compete agreement with the WPP agency.
Sally Costerton Advisory will focus on providing a range of consulting services to senior executives both in-house and agency side, focusing on performance improvement and problem-solving.
“The agency model as it stands doesn’t allow me to do this," said Costerton. "When you are running a big agency you don’t do very much client work at all. I love the buzz of a client coming in and problem-solving."
ICANN has enlisted Costerton to provide stakeholder and advisory counsel amid some significant changes at the organization, which is responsible for internet domain names and addresses.
ICANN recently named Fadi Chehadé as its new president and CEO, and also announced that the leader of its controversial effort to expand generic top-level domains (GTLDs) is stepping down. The GTLD effort is now led by Kurt Pritz, who replaces Michael Salazar.
The GTLD programme has been criticised for being "economically unsupportable" and for operating without stakeholder consensus. While ICANN is no longer under the direct oversight of the US Department of Commerce, it is required to develop policy in consultation with multiple stakeholders.
The expansion allows companies to brand their domains. This, noted Costerton, "opens ICANN up to a whole range of new stakeholders, including people in brand, communications and marketing." A US-based coalition of brands, which includes the likes of Walmart, Kraft, Adidas and Toyota, remains opposed to the initiative.
"The other big challenge is dramatically internationalising their relationships with stakeholders," she added.