New De Beers CEO Makes First Industry Appearance

At the last sight, Philippe
Mellier, the incoming De Beers CEO
, met the DTC’s clients, and according to everyone I spoke to, turned in a smooth debut.

Attendees tell me Mellier, who starts in late July, was
“very friendly,” “talkative,” and “not arrogant,” even joking about his French
accent in his remarks to the group. De
Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer “seemed quite impressed with him,” one
respondent mentioned. Another reported that Nicky made a point of mentioning that
son Jonathan took part in the selection process. Oppenheimer pointed out that the
selection process was quite long—10
months
—and thorough.

Mellier stressed what many consider his main qualification
for the job: his past experience dealing with governments as head of Alstom
Transport. He discussed how he’s dealt with people from all over the world,
which is always important in the diamond industry. (He has also, as Oppenheimer noted in an interview
with a mining publication
, supervised engineers.) Mellier admitted he doesn’t
know the diamond business, and didn’t give any indications of his further plans
for the company.

For more, see this blog post from Mark
Boston
, head of DTC broker H. Goldie.

The other big news is today the
applications to become DTC sightholders are finally due.
The process was a
little scaled down this time; for example, the sightholders weren’t quizzed
about where they see their company in the future. 

“In the past the DTC has been spun a lot of stories,” Boston
says. “Even they must be tired of hearing them.”

But no one is exactly sure where all this is leading. As
opposed to past selections, when DTC officials made it quite clear they would
be pruning the number of sightholders, there have been very few public
indications this time.

JCK News Director