Eli Izhakoff Stepping Down as Head of World Diamond Council

After 13 years as CEO and chair of the World Diamond Council, Eli Izhakoff has announced he will step down on June 30.

Izhakoff has headed the group, which represents the trade to the Kimberley Process, since its founding in 2000. He informed the WDC board of his decision to resign in May 2012.

“It’s been a tremendous responsibility, a lot of hard work, and there were a lot of uphill battles,” Izhakoff tells JCK. “I enjoyed it, but I’m happy to move on. The conflict diamond issue is much less stinging today than it was, and we have largely put it to rest. When we started, we were dealing with tremendous violence in diamond producing countries.”

He adds that while he intends to remain active with the WDC until the summer, once he resigns, he will be supportive “from the outside.”

Izhakoff didn’t give any opinion on who his successor would be, but the release announcing his departure hints at changes in the group’s structure, noting a steering committee “is working on reforms.”

“To me, reforms are a good thing at the KP, and they will be a good thing at the WDC,” he says.

WDC general counsel Cecilia Gardner says the organization has formed a committee that will address issues of governance, structure, and leadership.

She adds, “Eli’s contribution to the Kimberley Process and to the long-term health of the industry cannot be overstated.”