Mirjam Kühne

Proposal for a RIPE Chair Selection Process

Mirjam Kühne
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Based on community discussions, including a recent plenary session at RIPE 76, here is a proposal for the RIPE Chair selection process. We are now seeking comments from you on a number of specific elements.

The RIPE Chair

Please refer to the draft RIPE Chair Function Description for more details on the roles and responsibilities of the RIPE Chair.

Rob Blokzijl (right) handing the RIPE Chair responsibility over to Hans Petter Holen (left) at RIPE 68

To date, there have been two RIPE Chairs. In 2014, during the closing plenary at RIPE 68, Rob Blokzijl announced that he would be stepping down as RIPE Chair and handing the role over to the current chair, Hans Petter Holen.

This decision is well supported by the RIPE community. However, it was clear that the process for selecting a future RIPE Chair should be open, transparent and endorsed by the RIPE community as a whole. At the time of the handover, Rob urged the community to establish such a process under its new chair.

This topic has received a lot of discussion over the past few years, including here on RIPE Labs. At RIPE 76 back in May, Anna Wilson (HEANET, Ireland) led a community discussion to gather input on the elements that form the basis of this proposal.

The proposal

The selection process should be lightweight and easy to implement but documented for clarity and accountability purposes. Most importantly, it should be determined by consensus within the RIPE community. 

The discussion at RIPE 76 focused on the following elements:

  • RIPE Chair Nominations Committee (NomCom)
  • Selection of a pool of candidates
  • Selection of the RIPE Chair from that pool
  • Tenure of the position


The RIPE Working Group Chair collective will be responsible for forming a NomCom. It will ensure that the NomCom is representative of the community and can be productive. There are no constraints on the size and composition of the NomCom. WG chairs can serve on the NomCom.

The candidate pool

The NomCom will solicit nominations from the community and publish a list of suitable candidates.

The selection process

After a shortlist of potential candidates has been identified, the NomCom will hand it over to the WG Chair collective who will make the final decision.

The WG Chair collective will actively gather feedback from the community about each candidate. Based on this feedback, the WG Chairs collective will select the best candidate for the job.

The RIPE NCC will provide secretariat support for this process.


The RIPE Chair will serve a five-year term with a two-term limit.

Several alternatives were suggested during the discussion. Opinions ranged from shorter terms to no stated term of tenure.

Vice Chair

A new RIPE Vice Chair role will be created to support the RIPE Chair. This role will be filled according to the same process as that used for the RIPE Chair selection. There is no assumption that the Vice Chair would automatically become the RIPE Chair by default, but they would be free to put themselves forward (to be considered by the NomCom) for a vacant RIPE Chair position.

Next Steps

Please give us your feedback on the proposed selection process. You can leave a comment below or engage in the discussion on the RIPE Chair Discussion mailing list.

Your feedback is needed for the following elements:

  • Do you agree that a NomCom is a good way to identify a list of potential candidates?
  • Do you agree that a tenure of five years with a two-term limit is a suitable way to ensure continuity, stability and the opportunity for change in the RIPE community?
  • Do you agree that having a RIPE Vice Chair would be useful and that the Vice Chair should be selected following the same process as the RIPE Chair?



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About the author

Mirjam Kühne Based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

I wrote the articles collected here during my time as community builder of the RIPE NCC and the maintainer and editor of RIPE Labs. I have since taken on a new role serving as the Chair of the RIPE Community. You can reach my new profile via the website link below.

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