Lesley Cowley

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Country: UK

link=Company website   [Company website Company website]

LinkedIn: link=Profile   [Profile Lesley Cowley]
Twitter: TwitterIcon.png   @lesleycowley
ICANNLogo.png Currently a member
of ICANN's ccNSO

Userboxcards.png Featured in the ICANN 49 - Singapore playing card deck

Lesley Cowley is the Chief Executive at Nominet UK and the former Chair of ICANN's ccNSO Council; Her tenure as chair lasted from March 2011 until March 2013, she did not stand for a third term as Chair.[1][2]

In May 2014 Nominet announced that Lesley would be leaving the company and the CEO position on 9 July 2014.[3][4]

Professional Experience and ICANN

Lesley Cowley has been the Chief Executive at Nominet since 2002 and joined Nominet in 1999 as Operations Director. Her responsibilities involve leading Nominet and implementing core strategies.[5]

Nominet is the non-profit domain registry for the .uk ccTLD, and acts in the interest of all 3,000+ .uk stakeholders. [6] The company has a long standing commitment to being a leader in Internet governance. As part of this commitment, Lesley Cowley has been a member of the Country Code Names Supporting Organisation at ICANN since 2007, and was appointed its Chair in 2011. [7] Lesley Cowley has an MBA (with distinction) and is a respected member of various professional bodies, including:

  • Fellow British Computer Society
  • Fellow Institute of Credit Management
  • Fellow Chartered Management Institute
  • Fellow Royal Society for Arts
  • Freeman Worshipful Company of Information Technologists
  • Fellow Institute of Directors
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Ambassador to schools
  • Founding Trustee of Nominet Trust Charity [8]

In September, 2011 Lesley Cowley was part of a panel held in London to discuss ICANN's new gTLD program. Rod Beckstrom, CEO of ICANN, was also a panelist, and the discussion was part of a larger tour by him used to publicize and create knowledge and awareness of ICANN's new program.[9]


Ms. Cowley is a long-time ICANN participant. Notable moments in her years of participation include pressing ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom on his record of turning-over highly experienced, long-term staff members at ICANN 40 in San Francisco.[10]


  • Highly commended, Institute of Directors UK Awards 2011: not for profit/3rd sector [11]
  • OBE for services to Internet and e-commerce, 2011
  • Institute of Directors, London & SE, not for profit Director of the Year, 2010[12]
  • CBI First Women Award for Technology, 2007 [13]
  • Special commendation from Britain's Best Boss awards for encouraging a can-do attitude, 2006 [14]


In January 2013, Nominet filed a Defamation suit against the owner of the domains "that.co.uk" and "avoid.co.uk", which not only act as Nominet complaint sites but openly and directly attack its CEO, Lesley Cowley, with the goal of having her replaced. Nominet filed the suit noting that it was against harassment and victimization of its staff.[15]