Paul Mitchell appointed first business representative chair of Internet governance advisory group

  • 10 December 2021

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Paul Mitchell, a member of the business community and former Senior Director, Technology Policy and Internet Governance at Microsoft, to Chair the 2022 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG).

The MAG advises the UN Secretary-General on the programme and schedule of the annual IGF meeting. Mr Mitchell’s appointment marks the first time that a member of the private sector will assume this role.

Mr Mitchell began working for Microsoft in 1991 and since 2007 has held the role of Senior Director, Technology Policy and Internet Governance at Microsoft. He has participated actively in Internet policy discussions at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) since 2012 and is a former commissioner of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development convened by ITU and UNESCO in 2010.

Nominated by the International Chamber of Commerce, with broad support from stakeholders across the globe, Mr Mitchell is expected to fill the role for the next two years. His appointment comes at a crossroads for Internet governance.

“I’ve been participating in the IGF since 2011. In my new role as MAG Chair, I look forward to working with the MAG, as well as the wider community, to ensure the Internet stays true to the founding values that have made it so crucial to businesses, governments and users alike,” Mr Mitchell said. “A free and open Internet is fundamental to ensuring an inclusive digital future for us all.”

In addition to Mitchell’s new role as MAG Chair, the following members of the private sector have been appointed to the 2022 MAG, with the support of ICC BASIS:

ICC Knowledge Manager Timea Suto, who is leading the ICC-BASIS delegation to IGF 2021 in Katowice, Poland this week, added: “Business has been participating actively at IGF since its inaugural meeting in 2006. With crucial issues such as cybersecurity and cross-border data flows becoming increasingly important to not only the private sector, but to everyone who uses the Internet, the decision to recognise the importance of private sector expertise marks a promising first step in co-creating the Internet that works for all.”