Our experts

The expertise in our team is deep and diverse. Our people have backgrounds in law, banking, book keeping, IT security, private investigations, database programming, and IP asset management.

They have worked for corporate trademark departments and domain name registrars, building up contacts throughout the global domain name industry. This gives Valideus a thorough understanding of how and why domain names are important to brand owners.

Such knowledge informs every conversation conducted between a client and our experts, whether it is in English, French, Italian, Swedish, Spanish or Swahili. At Valideus, client management is not just liaising with the client. Where other domain providers send work to rows of clerks in distant locations, ours provide all aspects of our service themselves, establishing a close and trusting business partnership.

Nick Wood

Managing Director

Nick is Managing Director and co-founder of Com Laude with Lorna Gradden. Nick has a real passion for the domain name industry and believes that it is currently an emerging industry in a time of great change. It’s a time where best practice is not well-established and not always relevant. However, it is fascinating and challenging to be working with some of the world’s leading brands, helping them to create and implement strategy.

He spends considerable time immersed in the ICANN environment representing client issues in policy discussions and staying abreast of the latest changes, to help keep clients abreast of the latest developments and enable them to make informed decisions about their online IP strategies.

Nick is also deeply involved in several IP organisations: as a director and council member of MARQUES, the European association of brand owners, an associate member of the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys and a committee member at the International Trademark Association.

For many years, Nick has acted at the cutting edge of rights protection in domain names, having edited “The Perfect Sunrise”, the influential booklet on pre-launch rights protection measures. He is a member of the editorial board of Managing Intellectual Property magazine, co-author of Domain Names: Global Practice and Procedure, published by Sweet & Maxwell and co-author of the rights protection mechanisms recommended to ICANN for the launch of new gTLDs.

Marta Pook

PA/Events Manager

Marta is PA to the Directors and Events Manager for Com Laude and Valideus businesses. She makes sure we have the right venues and all is set well for events where we host clients, whether at ICANN meetings or closer to home, when we host our own events.

Marta joined Com Laude in 2014, after 10 years of experience in the hospitality industry in Poland, Italy and London.

Marta is Polish, and prior to moving to London was based in Florence, Italy, where she studied Italian.

She speaks Polish, Italian and English fluently and has a Bachelors degree in History of Art at Jagiellonian University, Krakow Poland.

Sophie Hey

Assistant Client Manager

Sophie is an Assistant Client Manager with Valideus. Sophie holds a BBus/LLB(Hons) with a major in Corporate Governance from the University of Tasmania and is an Australian lawyer. In 2017 she was a co-editor of the University of Tasmania Law Review.

She first became involved with domain names when she worked as a research assistant to an expert witness on the dot Amazon IRP case and attended her first ICANN meeting in Abu Dhabi as part of the NextGen program.

Lorna Gradden

Operations Director

Lorna is co-owner and Operations Director of Com Laude. She has been working in domain name management since 1994 and co-founded Com Laude with Nick Wood. She is known for having client interests at heart in all aspects of her work and ensures all aspects of Com Laude run smoothly, taking responsibility for order fulfilment, registry relationships and information systems. A regular speaker at industry events, Lorna loves the ever-changing nature of the domain name space.

She previously co-founded Net Searchers with Nick Wood, a company described by Legal Business magazine as “possibly the best domain name management company in the world and certainly the first to treat domains as IP, not IT”.

After Nick and Lorna sold Net Searchers, she joined VeriSign DBMS in 2003 as head of client management for EMEA. For Lorna, job satisfaction comes from getting to work with fantastic people and when she’s not dreaming of domains, Lorna can be found tending vegetables on the South Coast of England. She says that her law degree is not quite as useful today as it was during the five years she spent managing a successful band.

Glenn Hayward

Executive Director

Glenn Hayward is an experienced Executive Director with particular expertise working in Tech Companies, most notably in the Domain Name Industry. As Executive Director at Com Laude, Glenn is a Board member and one of the Leaders of the business, with specific responsibility for Strategy Development and Implementation, Corporate Affairs including Mergers and Acquisitions, oversight of Corporate Services and oversight of Brand Protection Services.

His previous role was Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary of CentralNic Group plc, the AIM listed domain name registry and registrar service provider. Prior to this role, Glenn was Executive Director, Business Development and Finance, at Nominet, the registry provider for the .uk namespace. Glenn was a board member at Nominet and led the Group’s diversification agenda including round 1 of the new top-level domain names programme, notably with a public-facing role on .wales and .cymru and through his work with .brand applicants.

Earlier in his career, Glenn was Business Analysis Manager for EasyJet plc and Finance Director for the SME division of Northgate Information Solutions plc.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from the University of Birmingham and a Diploma in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors in the United Kingdom (which focussed on Corporate Strategy and Leadership). In 2011 he was also awarded the Finance Director of the Future award at the UK’s FD Excellence Awards (endorsed by the Confederation of British Industry and the Institute of Chartered Accountants).

Jeff Neuman

Senior Vice President

Jeff Neuman is Senior Vice President of Com Laude USA and has been instrumental in providing policy assistance and advice in the fields of internet governance, intellectual property protection and domain name policy since the mid-1990s. Based in Tysons Corner, Virginia, he is responsible for helping the Com Laude team expand their global reach into North America and to help provide additional strategic support to North American customers.

He particularly enjoys working with customers to achieve their strategic online goal. He has been heavily involved in the ICANN community, both on the intellectual property side as well as the gTLD registry side for almost two decades and has now become involved in issues affected domain name registrars. He is looking forward to bringing Com Laude’s unique domain portfolio management services to North American customers.

In his previous role at Neustar as business lead for its Registry Services team, Jeff was responsible for the sales, business development, distribution and management of Neustar’s Franchise TLDs, including .BIZ, .US and .NYC. He was also responsible for Neustar’s response to the new gTLD initiatives, including the launch and administration of each of its 350+ new gTLD applications.

Jeff is a frequent speaker on issues involving intellectual property, domain names, online dispute resolution and the introduction of new generic top-level domains. He served as the Vice Chairman of ICANN’s Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), Chair of the gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) and has chaired and participated in numerous ICANN working groups on domain name transfers, WHOIS, policy development, accountability, to name a few. He has also served on the board of the Domain Name Association (DNA), as well as the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies.

Jeff has a J.D. from The George Washington University Law School, and a BA in Labor and Industrial Relations from Penn State University.

John Pryor

Head of Business Development

John is Head of Business Development at Com Laude. He is a senior sales, marketing and strategy professional, who for the last 18 years John has established a successful track record developing business in intellectual property services, including domain names. Since 2009 Intellectual Asset Magazine has named John as one of the 300 Leading IP Strategists from around the world.

John is passionate about delighting customers, constantly learning and developing; but most of all working with great people to create an authentic, positive culture and delivering beyond the sum of the parts.

For leisure he spends time with his family and enjoys physical challenges usually connected to running, cycling, swimming and / or the mountains.

John has a BSc Joint Honours in Biochemistry and Physiology from King’s College London and an MBA from Warwick Business School.

Ken Taylor

Director, Business Development

Ken has been involved in Internet domains and intellectual property for over 20 years. He is in charge of developing new business in North America by offering enterprise solutions to domain portfolio management as well as Front End Registry Management [FERM] services for .brand TLDs. Ken has been a member of the Intellectual Property Constituency at ICANN since 2001, is serving his third term on the Internet Committee at INTA, and has served two terms on the Cyberspace Team at MARQUES. He is a frequent speaker on domain issues and the ethics of trademark investigations.

Prior to joining Com Laude, Ken founded Marksmen with Jason Tirado, Mark Doerr, Rosemarie Fasullo and Grant MacCoon.

Marksmen is a world leader in brand protection and Ken was the company’s CEO and Chairman for 16 years. He remains active with Marksmen as owner, principal shareholder and consultant.

Ken is also the co-founder and contributing editor of Lute & Drum: An Online Arts Quarterly (luteanddrum.com) as well as selva oscura press (selvaoscurapress.com), a 501(c)(3), non-profit publisher of experimental poetry (selvaoscurapress.com). He received his BA in English from Auburn University.

Susan Payne

Head of Legal Policy

Susan is Head of Legal Policy and joined Valideus from BBC Worldwide, where she was Head of Brand Protection. She brought her knowledge from the other side of the new gTLD application process, having worked on the application for the dot-BBC TLD, and been responsible for BBC Worldwide’s brand protection strategy at the second level. Working with limited budgets and personnel resources, she has faced the same problems that many clients are currently facing in seeking to protect their brands in the expanded gTLD space.

At Valideus Susan helps our clients navigate ICANN policy, to ensure that they remain compliant with their obligations as a registry operator, and engages on new ICANN policy development, being an active participant in a number of ICANN working groups including those on New gTLD Subsequent Procedures and Rights Protections. Susan is one of the honorary legal advisors to the Brand Registry Group (BRG) and will be the INTA Internet Committee’s subcommittee chair for New gTLD Subsequent Rounds and Geographic Terms during the 2018-2019 term.

Ashley Roberts

Senior Manager

Ashley is Senior Manager for Valideus and is in charge of overall strategy for the Client Project Manager team. He works with a number of new gTLD applicant clients that he is leading through the ICANN process to launch their registries. This involves briefing them on strategy, industry news, and ICANN developments in addition to completing all of the mandatory ICANN steps and ensuring that the business is prepared for the launch and running of a registry.

He also led the development of Valideus’ Front-End Registry Management service, a fully outsourced product for staying compliant with ICANN’s registry agreement. Prior to joining Valideus Ashley worked for another registrar managing domain name portfolios for clients.

Dietmar Lenden

Senior Manager

Dietmar is a Senior Manager for .BRAND applicants and is responsible for ensuring that each applicant passes through the various phases of the ICANN process to completion. His exceptional customer support skills and friendly manner serve him well in an environment with forever moving goal posts. Dietmar also manages the validation team and handles operational aspects of the various validation projects, calling upon his strong organisational skills and attention to detail.

Trent Pulver

Director, Registration Account Services

Trent joined Com Laude in April 2018 and is based out of our Tysons Corner, Virginia office. He brings over 18 years’ experience in the domain name industry to the team. He has provided brand protection for dozens of the worlds most recognized and valuable brands, most recently as the in-house domain portfolio manager for Amazon and business analyst for their new gTLDs. His past roles also include in-house domain portfolio management for AOL and digital brand management of Fortune 500 clients.

Trent’s diverse background with in-house intellectual property programs, registry, and registrar operations brings a unique perspective to brand owners who face challenges in the rapidly changing domain name space.

Outside of the office, he enjoys family time, attending Washington DC sporting events, exploring the great outdoors, and travel.

Alexander Chilikov

Verification and Research Analyst

Alexander is a Verification & Research Analyst at Valideus. His role involves carrying out validation of domain name registrations and verification of applicants and their supporting data, which entails examining trade mark registrations, and reviewing corporate and legal documentation from a variety of jurisdictions. Alexander has worked on several new gTLD projects including .London, .Tickets and .Law.

His responsibilities also include assisting the Policy Development team at Valideus by researching and reporting on various ICANN related events, and engaging in ICANN policy development by monitoring and getting involved in working groups.

Yoshi Murakami

Representative Director

Yoshi Murakami has been involved in domains and intellectual property since 2002. He has managed extensive gTLD and ccTLD domain portfolios for clients and provided intellectual property advice to big brands throughout Japan.

A veteran of the ICANN community, he managed the applications for 24 dot brands from Japan and South Korea and has worked both as a registrar and registry provider. He has worked with Com Laude since October 2017.

Under the leadership of domain name expert Yoshi Murakami, Com Laude Japan offers the full suite of Com Laude and Valideus services: Corporate Domain Name Management for brands and large enterprises through to dot brand registry management services.

Susanna Long

Head of Legal and Company Secretary

Susanna is our Head of Legal working out of our London office. Susanna is a lawyer with over 15 years’ post-admission experience in England, also is also qualified in Australia. Susanna has worked with Com Laude since 2009.

Before that, she had 8 years’ experience in top tier law firms in London and Canberra. Susanna is a general commercial lawyer with a background in insurance litigation. She holds a combined BA / LLB (Hons) from the Australian National University, Canberra

Crescent Ezekwu

Trainee Solicitor

Crescent has spent close to 5 years as a Client Project Manager, advising Valideus’ corporate clients on their new gTLD registry launches. Having started his training contract in January 2017, Crescent now acts as a Trainee Solicitor in Com Laude’s Legal team and is looking forward to qualifying as a Solicitor in 2019.

Phil Kingsland

Head of Marketing and Communications

Phil is a strategic marketing and communications professional and Board advisor with in-depth experience of working with non-profits, intellectual property and technology businesses spanning over 25 years. He advises businesses on growth, communications and development strategies, using his deep understanding of developing successful businesses through broad stakeholder engagement.

At Com Laude he leads the marketing and communications team to support the growth of the business. He has previously held senior roles at Nominet, the not-for-profit membership organization responsible for the .uk domain name infrastructure; W3C UK and Ireland; and management, training and IT consultancy, Axon. Phil has an M.Eng & Man from University of Birmingham.

Gareth Jehu

Technical Director

Gareth is Com Laude’s Technical Director and joined the company in May 2018. He has 18 years’ experience of working in domain name management and served in multiple operational and technical senior management positions for both domain name registrars and registries. Over that time, Gareth has experienced and managed many of the major technological and operational changes affecting the industry and enjoys tackling the challenges and opportunities that these changes present.

Gareth leads a highly skilful and focused technical team whose primary aim is on providing our clients with the “best in class” online experience in domain name management and online brand protection.

Outside of work, Gareth is a keen road cyclist and is currently secretary of his local cycling club.

He holds a BA (Hons) degree in Geography from Middlesex University and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of South Wales.

Huw Stead

Head of Development & QA

Huw is Com Laude’s Head of Development and QA. Huw comes from a development background has managed development teams and worked in the domain name industry since 2001. Huw was operated in roles for both registrars (Net Searchers, Register.com, Com Laude) and registries (Telnic). Huw holds a BSc Honours(1:1) in Computer Studies from the University of Glamorgan. Outside of the office Huw is a keen Cyclist – ‘Miles are my Meditation’.

Michael Holloway

Head of IT Operations

Michael is Com Laude’s Head of IT Operations. With a background in development, he joined Com Laude in 2005, and has been involved in settings up Com Laude’s IT systems since the company was founded, including technical infrastructure, DNS, front end systems, and registry integrations. Outside of IT, Michael is a windsurfer and fantasy writer.

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