….Did he bow to industry pressure?
Phillip Mellier last week stepped down as De Beers Group CEO, raising questions whether last year’s pressure exerted on him by other players in the diamond industry led to his resignation.
The change at the top of the world’s largest diamond producer by value comes after Martin Rapaport, Chairman of the Rapaport Group, called on Mellier to resign last November, arguing the company’s refusal to lower rough prices was “destroying” the diamond trade. De Beers later claimed rough prices declined 15 percent during 2015.
In a statement announcing the leadership change, De Beers Group did not give reasons for Mellier’s exit, with Mellier only indicating that: “Having steered through some of the diamond industry´s toughest times and with the market showing signs of recovery, now is the right time for me to pass the baton to the next generation.”
Philippe Mellier said: “I have been privileged to lead such an iconic company as De Beers with its rich history, great people and culture, and truly unique product offering. As I committed at the outset in 2011, I envisaged a five year plan with the team and the Board to reset De Beers on its current path.”
Bruce Cleaver was appointed to replace Mellier who stepped down after being at the helm for five years.
Duncan Wanblad, CEO of Anglo American´s Base Metals business, will add the Strategy and Business Development portfolio of Anglo American to his responsibilities, the company announced.
Both appointments will take effect on 1 July 2016.
Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American and Chairman of De Beers, said: “Together with our partners in De Beers, we congratulate Bruce Cleaver on his appointment as CEO of De Beers following Philippe Mellier’s decision to step down.”
“Bruce’s leadership of De Beers’ strategy and its commercial and government relationships working alongside Philippe and over much of the last decade, combined with his time working with us to shape the new Anglo American strategy, provide strong continuity at an important stage in the diamond market’s recovery,” Cutifani said.
Bruce Cleaver commented: “I am honoured to be asked to lead one of the world´s great companies. Diamonds are as relevant to today´s consumers, all over the world, as they were to their parents and their parents before them. Diamonds have also made positive contributions to a host of countries that have used their revenues wisely, to communities and to all who have been touched by their mystique and the practical benefits of responsible mining and ethical sourcing.
I look forward to working closely with all of our key customers, governments and other stakeholders to ensure that De Beers continues to lead the industry into a new and exciting phase. My sincere thanks to Philippe – his innovative thinking, constant questioning of the status quo and desire to advance the agenda has benefited all of us, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him.