By Brecken Branstrator
Currently the group director of strategy and business for parent company Anglo American, Bruce Cleaver will be the new CEO of De Beers effective July 1.
London--De Beers announced Friday it has appointed Bruce Cleaver, group director of strategy and business development for Anglo American, as CEO following Philippe Mellier’s decision to step down after five years with the company.

The appointment will be effective July 1.

Cleaver, 51, joined De Beers as general counsel in 2005 and then became commercial director in 2007.

Three years later he was appointed co-acting CEO of De Beers, prior to Mellier’s appointment, and then moved into the position of executive head responsible for strategy, business development, corporate affairs and technologies in 2011.

News of the appointment comes on the heels of a tough year for De Beers. In 2015, total revenue for the diamond miner and market plummeted 34 percent as decreased demand for diamond jewelry in the downstream market resulted in a drop in rough diamond sales at the top of the pipeline.

The decline also was driven by a 36 percent year-over-year drop in rough diamond sales, partially offset by a 5 percent increase in the average price-per-carat for the diamonds it sold.

In its most recent first quarter, De Beers said diamond production was down double digits as it scaled back operations due to the weak diamond demand in 2015.

Parent company Anglo American also said Duncan Wanblad, CEO of its Base Metals business, will add the strategy and business development portfolio of Anglo (from Cleaver’s current positions) to his responsibilities.

Of the appointment, Mark Cutifani, CEO of Anglo American and chairman of De Beers, said, “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.

“The structural dynamics of the diamond market continue to improve, led by the strength of consumer demand for diamond jewelry. With the proven management team in place, De Beers is well positioned to maximize value for all its stakeholders across the diamond value chain.”

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