Bruce Cleaver has been appointed the next CEO of De Beers. The announcement was made Friday morning by Anglo American and De Beers and the appointment will take effect on July 1.
Anglo American, one of the world’s largest mining companies, owns an 85 percent share of De Beers.
Cleaver, 51, will replace Philippe Mellier, who announced his resignation Friday after serving in the top position at De Beers for approximately five years.
Cleaver served as De Beers’ executive director responsible for strategy and commercial relationships until 2015, also serving as co-acting CEO for a year prior to Philippe Mellier’s appointment in 2011. He was appointed group director of Strategy and Business Development for Anglo American in 2015.
“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,” said Mark Cutifani, chief executive of Anglo American and Chairman of De Beers.
Cleaver takes over for the diamond mining and marketing giant at a difficult time, as 2015 was diamond industry’s worst year since the global recession. A decline in consumer demand led by China caused excess inventory of the precious gem and led to an oversupply of diamonds.
This year marked a mild recovery in diamond demand led by an increase in demand in the United States, which accounts for 45 percent of global diamond demand.
“The structural dynamics of the diamond market continue to improve, led by the strength of consumer demand for diamond jewelry,” Cutifani said. “With the proven management team in place, De Beers is well positioned to maximize value for all its stakeholders across the diamond value chain.”
Cleaver added: “I am honored 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. As the world continues to evolve ever more rapidly, it is our task to ensure that we remain as relevant as we are today and to grow our position in the luxury world.”
Mellier—who previously served as president as Alstom Transport, a French multinational conglomerate—was an industry outsider when he was appointed to lead De Beers in 2015. He said he had always planned to hold the top job at De Beers for five years.
“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. I have worked closely with Bruce Cleaver throughout and I have no doubt about his abilities and experience to lead De Beers on the next stage of its journey as the world’s leading diamond company.”
Cutifani noted that Mellier “has led De Beers with great agility, transforming the company’s strategic and operational mindset with a strong customer focus to ensure that consumer desire for diamond jewelry is at the very heart of decision making across the diamond pipeline. He has navigated through structural change and considerable market volatility over the last five years, while cementing De Beers’ unquestioned leadership position.”
Please join me on the Jewelry News Network Facebook Page, on Twitter @JewelryNewsNet, the Forbes website and on Instagram @JewelryNewsNetwork