LinkedInNick Ashton-Hart

Nick Ashton-Hart

Executive Director at Internet & Digital Ecosystem Alliance (IDEA)

Geneva Area, Switzerland
International Affairs
  1. Computer & Communications Industry Association,
  2. Google,
  3. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Inc. (ICANN)
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I have the honour of being the senior permanent representative connected to the for-profit technology sector to the UN, its member-states, and the international organisations resident in Geneva - but I work closely with not-for-profits too. I've has been an active part of multilateral policy development starting with the sustainable development agenda for the world’s cities (HABITAT 11) in 1992, and of the Geneva international community for 14 years and a resident of for the past eight.

I came to international policy from a successful private-sector career in both the entertainment and ICT sectors, starting in the music industry managing some of the world’s most successful and influential artists like the “Godfather of Soul” James Brown and multi-platinum artists Heaven 17. In the tech sector I went from a Systems Administrator post to CIO/CTO in five years and have broad hands-on technology experience from running a small local area network to designing multi-country wide area networks.

Current Positions and Advisory Roles:

Member, e15Initiative Trade and Innovation Expert Group

Member, Evian Group@IMD Trade Task Force

Member, Board of Directors, MetaBrainz Foundation, the corporate home of MusicBrainz

I am a Featured Blogger on CircleID, can be found @nashtonhart on Twitter


Executive Director

Internet & Digital Ecosystem Alliance (IDEA)
– Present (6 months)

In founding IDEA, I created the first advocacy organisation to unite the perspectives of both for-profit and not-for-profit Internet stakeholders to advocate for a human rights and permission less innovation-friendly Internet at the international level. My duties encompass strategy development and advocacy across the Geneva community where policy processes as diverse as human rights, Internet governance, and trade policy intersect with Internet issues. His duties routinely involve meetings with Ambassadors, UN Agency heads and senior managers, and CEOs of multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations and senior government Ministers from countries worldwide.

Geneva Representative

Computer & Communications Industry Association
(4 years)Geneva, Switzerland

Responsible for representing the interests of CCIA and its member companies to the United Nations, its specialised agencies, and UN member-states in Geneva. Duties include bilateral and multilateral Intellectual Property discussions at the World Intellectual Property Organisation, representing the ICT sector’s views on electronic commerce at the World Trade Organisation, and in Geneva-based Internet Governance policy activities.

As the most senior full-time representative to the Geneva community from the for-profit tech sector, Nick is relied upon by member-states and UN staff as a source of expert knowledge on the public policy perspective of the entire ICT sector.


(1 year 6 months)Geneva, Switzerland

Adviser to Google, Inc., for strategic relationship development for its music-related properties and international copyright licensing policy development.

Senior Director for Participation and Engagement

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Inc. (ICANN)
(6 months)

ICANN views increasing participation across all stakeholder communities as a strategic priority. This means recruiting new participants, and new communities of interests who are not presently involved, but also to empower existing volunteer communities so that all feel their time spent with ICANN is increasingly valuable and effective. This position is responsible for all ICANN’s participation mechanisms, from public comment processes to meetings to publications.

Director for At-Large

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
(3 years 4 months)

Responsible for the delivery of supporting services and management of staff associated with the At-Large (individual Internet users) constituency of ICANN, the international not-for-profit organisation which is responsible for the top-level management of the Internet domain name and number system. A complex role involving the employment of diplomatic, organisational development, and consensus-facilitation for stakeholders throughout the world and from all different socio-economic backgrounds, as well as providing strategic advice to the senior staff of the organisation. The position entails responsibility for a seven-figure budget and associated staff. My tenure began as a consultant, with my appointment to Director being made in January 2007.

Director of Strategy

Lansharks (UK) Ltd.
(7 years 2 months)

Responsible for development of the overall strategic direction of the business. Assisted the MD with capacity planning and premier client relationship management for selected longterm client relationships remaining from my term as Managing Director.


Consensus Optimus
(1 year 9 months)London, United Kingdom

Nick provides specialised services to non-governmental organisations, civil society representatives, for-profit and non profit industrial representatives in coalition-building, multilateral treaty development and strategies for success in working with UN agencies and member states. He specialises in helping disparate groups find common ground on difficult issues and then taking that consensus and effectively representing it to audiences across the spectrum, political, industrial, for-profit and non-profit.

He has acted for organisations as diverse as consumer representatives, online civil rights NGOs, intellectual property rights holders, and some of the world's most famous and successful Fortune 50 enterprises, and ICT industry trade associations.

Executive Director

International Music Managers Forum (IMMF)
(3 years 1 month)

Chief Executive of the organisation, a worldwide umbrella non-governmental organisation representing popular musicians and their managers.
Responsible for managing finances, administrative affairs, and staff, answering directly to the Secretary General and the Council.
Developed annual budgets and successfully piloted these budgets through an approval process involving both the executive Council as well as the General Assembly of all members.
Key role in developing policy objectives and strategies for consideration by Council and General Assembly of the organisation. Coordinated the meetings of those bodies, including draft agendas and preparation of all documents required.
Main representative for the organisation with the UN and its specialised agencies, in particular WIPO, member state delegations of all levels, the European Commission and Parliament, and other INGOs

Managing Director / Managing Director for Europe

Subversive Music Management Ltd / Intrigue Music Management (Europe) Ltd.
(4 years 2 months)

Responsible for all aspects of the professional careers of some of the music world’s most successful and influential featured artists, from James Brown (“The Godfather of Soul”) to Heaven 17. This included: negotiating with and managing relationships with major recording companies, concert promoters, music publishers, broadcasters, and all other third-parties – relationships which individually could generate more than a million dollars yearly for the artist. Helped ‘reposition’ these artists to be more relevant and ‘cool’ for modern audiences in global PR campaigns. Managing the affairs of a legendary artist like James Brown is the summit of this global profession and involves responsibility for many millions of dollars annually in turnover from a wide variety of sources.

Partner / Managing Director

Lansharks EIS, Inc. / Lansharks (UK) Ltd.
(3 years 3 months)

Successfully managed this IT consultancy business, including relocating the business from the USA to the UK whilst growing revenues and customer relationships. Proven results as a senior consultant, helping companies of all sizes successfully develop and implement IT strategies to maximise strategic business advantage. Periodically served in a consulting capacity to selected clients, primarily when the engagement required acting as an interim IT Director/CTO/CIO. These engagements routinely involved decisions on large capital equipment and services purchasing, as well as management of dozens of IT staff in high-pressure environments undergoing rapid change. Often involved in the selection process of permanent staff to replace me in these interim posts. Proven track record in finding and implementing innovative, cost-effective solutions to a wide range of business issues. During my tenure as MD, the company never lost a client to a competitor or due to client dissatisfaction.

Director of IT

Patti Roscoe & Associates
(4 years 11 months)

Successful management of the IT infrastructure for this successful US travel services business. Restructured antiquated IT systems and brought the benefits of the internet – email, group calendaring and wide area networking – at the dawn of the Internet age, providing a great advantage over competitors. Promoted on merit from Systems Administrator during my tenure.

Volunteer Experience & Causes

Opportunities Nick is looking for:

  • Joining a nonprofit board
  • Skills-based volunteering (pro bono consulting)

Causes Nick cares about:

  • Civil Rights and Social Action
  • Economic Empowerment
  • Environment
  • Human Rights
  • Politics
  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Science and Technology

Organizations Nick supports:

  • Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Human Rights Watch
  • United Nations OCHA
  • Internet Governance Forum Secretariat


Speech to the EU Parliament's JURI Committee on Enforcement of Copyright and Related Rights, 2006(Link)

January 2006

Delivered on behalf of several international organisations in the music and film sector in the discussion of enforcement provisions for copyright.

The Economics of Recorded Music - Who Gets Paid from Records and Why(Link)

February 2009

The economics of phonograms - CDs, MP3s, etc - is an arcane subject that few people understand who are not directly involved in the commercialisation of music. This article illustrates who gets paid for sales of music, and why, in an accessible manner.

Featured Blog(Link)


I write about the intersection of politics and the Internet - and how to solve problems.


  • Public Speaking
  • Diplomacy
  • Executive Management
  • Consensus Building
  • International Law
  • Policy
  • Public Policy
  • International Relations
  • Intellectual Property
  • Government Relations
  • NGOs
  • Strategic Communications
  • Lobbying
  • Nonprofits
  • Government
  • Organizational...
  • Policy Analysis
  • Sustainable Development
  • Politics
  • Strategy
  • Recruiting
  • Public Relations
  • Business Strategy
  • E-commerce
  • Strategic Partnerships
  • Strategic Planning
  • Fundraising
  • Project Management
  • Leadership
  • Start-ups
  • Analysis
  • Competitive Analysis
  • CRM
  • Management
  • Public Affairs
  • Change Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Negotiation
  • International...
  • Foreign Policy
  • European Union
  • Program Management
  • Governance
  • Corporate Social...
  • Proposal Writing
  • Management Consulting
  • Business Development
  • Copyright Law
  • Consulting
  • Privacy Law
  • See 35+  See less


  1. English

    Native or bilingual proficiency
  2. French

    Elementary proficiency

Honors & Awards

North American Co-Ordinator of Musical Event Fundraising for the UN International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, 1987.

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