On Friday, De Beers announced the appointment of Bruce Cleaver as its CEO, effective July 1.
This news follows the stepping down of Philippe Mellier after five years with the company. “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,” he says. “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.”
Cleaver, 51, joined De Beers as general counsel in 2005 and then became commercial director in 2007. Three years later, before Mellier’s appointment, he worked as co-acting CEO of De Beers, and in 2011, he moved into the position of executive head responsible for strategy, business development, corporate affairs and technologies.
“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,” says Mark Cutifani, CEO of Anglo American and chairman of De Beers.
This change follows a difficult year for the company. In 2015, De Beers’ total revenue nosedived 34 per cent as decreased demand for diamond jewellery caused a drop in rough diamond sales.
Despite last year’s disheartening results, Cutifani is hopeful for the future of the company. “The structural dynamics of the diamond market continue to improve, led by the strength of consumer demand for diamond jewelry,” he says. “With the proven management team in place, De Beers is well positioned to maximize value for all its stakeholders across the diamond value chain.”
Anglo American, De Beers’ parent company, adds that Duncan Wanblad, CEO of Base Metals, will now take over Anglo’s strategy and business development portfolio for Cleaver.