By Michelle Graff
New York--The World Diamond Council announced Tuesday that it has a new president, vice president and treasurer following the first formal meeting of the organization’s new board of directors.

At the meeting, the board elected Edward Asscher, a fifth generation diamantaire who heads the Netherlands-based Royal Asscher Diamond Company, as president. Under the WDC’s new statutes, he will serve one two-year term and automatically will be succeeded by the vice president.

Born in 1946, Asscher began working at his family-owned diamond company in his 20s after earning a master’s in economics from the University of Groningen. He is a former president of the International Diamond Council, past president of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association and vice president of the European Council of Diamond Manufacturers. Outside of the industry, Asscher is a past president of the Dutch Liberal Party and was a senator in the Dutch parliament between 2007 and 2011.

He succeeds Eli Izhakoff, who stepped down in June 2013 after 13 years in the position, serving before a term limit was implemented. 

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Asscher said the WDC, which was created by the diamond industry in 2000 to deal with the issue of conflict or “blood” diamonds, will give “new energy” to implementing the Kimberley Process. 

“Consumers must remain able to maintain confidence in our products, and the well-being of all who are involved in the diamond trade must be the focus of our mission. That is the legacy which I want to be able to pass onto the next generation of young adults who work in the diamond industry, wherever in the world,” he said.

The board elected Andrew Bone, who heads government and industry relations for De Beers, as vice president while Ronnie VanderLinden, president of the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America and the U.S. coalition representative to the WDC, was elected treasurer.

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The election of WDC officers took place during the first formal meeting of organization’s 20-person board of directors, which was elected on April 28 by the WDC’s full membership.

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