Antwerp—After a little over two years, World Diamond Council Executive Director Marie-Chantal Kaninda is leaving the post to pursue another opportunity.

A resident of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kaninda became WDC executive director in March 2017, succeeding Patricia Syvrud, who was the first salaried administrator to head the organization following a structural overhaul.

Kaninda announced her resignation in the WDC’s e-newsletter sent out Tuesday.

20190905 Marie Chantal KanindaMarie-Chantal Kaninda“The time has come for me to move on,” she wrote. “I certainly do not do so from a place of disillusionment or disappointment—on the contrary—but simply because new opportunity has presented itself, and at this stage of my career I feel that I must seize it.”

She said that as an African woman who has spent most of her professional life serving the interests of miners and mining communities in Africa, her decision to take the job as executive director of WDC—regarded by many as a “bastion of the industry establishment” focused predominately on the consumer end of the market—might have seemed “an unorthodox choice.”

But, she wrote, she hoped her appointment would highlight the fact that the organization represents both the upstream and downstream interests of the diamond industry, a view for which she received “tremendous” support from the WDC.

“I have traveled a great deal [as WDC executive director] over the past two years … On all occasions, I felt that we were reinforcing our industry’s sense of commitment to all its stakeholders, and I believe that we have been able to touch hearts and change people’s minds.”

In her letter, Kaninda also thanked WDC officers Edward Asscher, Udi Sheintal and Ronnie VanderLinden; David Bouffard and Steven Benson from the communications team; and the “hard-working, influential and independently minded sisters who stood alongside me these past two years”— Feriel Zerouki, Elodie Daguzan, Karla Basselier and Agathe Bukasa.

She also paid special tribute to WDC President Stephane Fischler, whose “support and understanding has been constant.”

“He taught me a great deal,” she wrote, “as I hope I taught him.”

Kaninda’s term formally expired Aug. 31, but she said in her letter that she would continue to work with the organization through its annual meeting next month and the KP Plenary meeting in November.


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