Dominion Diamond Chairman Gannicott Resigns, Replaced by De Beers Vet

A victory for activist investors?

Dominion Diamond chairman Robert Gannicott has stepped down and will be replaced by De Beers veteran Jim Gowans, in what some see as another victory for the activist investors that own 5.4 percent of the company.

No reason was given for Gannicott’s departure, but he alluded to “medical challenges” in a statement. The former chairman and CEO took an extended medical leave of absence in 2014 and 2015 and gave up the chief executive role upon his return last July.

A source told Reuters that the investment group led by hedge fund K2 was unhappy with the performance of Gannicott and CEO Brendan Bell.

A geologist, Gannicott has been with Dominion since 1992. He was appointed president and CEO in 1999 and chairman and CEO in 2004.

New chairman Gowans is an industry veteran who currently serves as president and CEO of mineral exploration company Arizona Mining. Prior to that, he served as managing director of the Debswana Diamond Co. in Botswana and as CEO of De Beers Canada Inc.

It was also announced that K2 portfolio manager Josef Vejvoda will join the company’s board.

JCK News Director