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We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to Axel for his outstanding service to the RIPE NCC membership and the RIPE community over the past two decades. The RIPE NCC had 1,600 members in 1999 when Axel joined, and during his tenure the organisation has grown to well over 20,000 members. This massive increase corresponds with the growth of the Internet into a tool that is essential to billions of people around the world. Axel's assured leadership meant that the RIPE NCC was more than able to meet the challenges involved in that growth.
As the Internet grew, new actors became involved in the Internet ecosystem, and Axel embraced the role of representing the technical community to governments and intergovernmental organisations, making the voice of our community heard at the highest levels. He worked closely with RIPE Chairs Rob Blokzijl and Hans Petter Holen to develop the RIPE community as it not only grew but also incorporated new participants, developed new topics for discussion, and dealt with no small amount of contentious issues that needed to be addressed professionally and effectively.
Axel was also integral to efforts to grow technical communities throughout our service region, and he was instrumental in the establishment of the ENOG, MENOG and SEE communities. He is personally proud of the RIPE NCC's efforts to accommodate the voices of everyone who is interested in the development of the Internet.
Axel's very first Managing Director's Report in 2000 concluded with "... we look forward to continue working on the solid foundation of the RIPE NCC principles of neutrality, impartiality and openness to serve the Internet community and especially the RIPE NCC membership."
Axel continued to make this the core sentiment of the RIPE NCC for 20 years. For this, and for so much more, we thank Axel and we look forward to his continued involvement in our community.
The RIPE NCC Executive Board will quickly start the process of recruiting a new Managing Director. In the meantime, the Board has appointed a new Management Team of Gwen van Berne (CFO), Kaveh Ranjbar (CIO) and Felipe Victolla Silveira (COO), who will lead the RIPE NCC and ensure there is continuity of service and operations during the interim period.