Belfast Telegraph

Anglo American appoints Bruce Cleaver as chief executive of De Beers

Mining giant Anglo American has appointed Bruce Cleaver as chief executive of the world's largest diamond producer, De Beers.

Mr Cleaver will take the helm on July 1 after current chief executive Philippe Mellier announced he was stepping down after five years in charge.

The top-level shake-up comes after De Beers attempted to jump start the diamond market by cutting output last year, after the slowdown in China hit the demand for diamond jewellery.

Anglo - which has an 85% stake in the firm - said on Tuesday that demand for diamonds remained stable despite lower rough diamond sales at De Beers.

Mark Cutifani, chief executive of Anglo American, said Mr Cleaver would provide "strong continuity" at an important stage in the recovery of the diamond market

He added: "The structural dynamics of the diamond market continue to improve, led by the strength of consumer demand for diamond jewellery. With the proven management team in place, De Beers is well positioned to maximise value for all its stakeholders across the diamond value chain."

The changes will also see Duncan Wanblad, the chief executive of Anglo's base metals business, take charge of the strategy and business development portfolio of Anglo American.

Mr Cleaver was De Beers' executive director for strategy and commercial relationships and was co-acting chief executive before Mr Mellier's appointment in 2011.

He moves to chief executive of De Beers from his position as group director of strategy and business development at Anglo American.

Mr Cleaver said: "Diamonds are as relevant to today's consumers, all over the world, as they were to their parents and their parents before them."

He added: "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."

Anglo American faced investor protest last month after a significant number of shareholders voted against chief executive Mark Cutifani's £3.4 million pay package for 2015 during the company's AGM.

It came after the firm revealed in February that it had plunged deeper into the red as it bore the brunt of tumbling commodity prices.

It said it continued to face ''strong headwinds'' as it slumped to a full-year pre-tax loss of 5.5 billion US dollars (£3.8 billion), compared with a 259 million US dollar (£179.7 million) loss in 2014.

De Beers is the world's largest diamond producer by value.