De Beers’ Ralfe to retire, Penny to become managing director

Gary Ralfe has confirmed his intention to retire in February 2006. He will be succeeded by Gareth Penny as managing director of the De Beers Group.

De Beers Group Chairman Nicky Oppenheimer made the announcement at a company strategic leadership forum near Johannesburg on Wednesday.

“I am confident, along with the other shareholders of De Beers, that under Gareth’s leadership De Beers will continue the record of performance of the past few years,” Oppenheimer said,.

Penny, 42, joined Anglo American Corp. in 1988. He served as personal assistant to Julian Ogilvie Thompson, then chairman of both Anglo American and De Beers. He went on to set up, on behalf of Debswana Diamond Company, the Teemane diamond cutting factory in Serowe, Botswana. He was then appointed the manager of De Beers’ Strategic Review. In July last year he succeeded Gary Ralfe as managing director of Diamond Trading Company and has played the leading role in the successful implementation of Supplier of Choice, De Beers’ new sales and marketing strategy.

Oppenheimer said that Ralfe will continue to serve as a non-executive director of De Beers SA after his retirement.