Diamonds / Industry

Longtime De Beers Exec Stephen Lussier Retires


Stephen Lussier (pictured), the legendary De Beers executive who currently serves as its executive vice president for brands and consumer markets, is leaving that role after 37 years with the company.

Lussier, whose main responsibility includes overseeing the De Beers Forevermark and De Beers Jewelers brands, will still act as a strategic adviser to the company, and continue to chair the Natural Diamond Council, the diamond marketing group he helped found.

Lussier will be succeeded by Marc Jacheet (pictured below), who most recently served as president of Tiffany & Co. Europe, Middle East, and Africa, and prior to that as president of Tiffany’s Asia-Pacific region. Jacheet has also held a number of global marketing roles with LVMH, Danone, and Unilever, in both Europe and the United States.

Marc Jacheet
Marc Jacheet

Jacheet will join the company on Feb. 1. He will also become a member of the group’s executive committee.

David Prager, who has frequently appeared alongside Lussier at industry events (and is also from the United States), will remain executive vice president and chief brand officer.

In March, Jewelers of America will give Lussier its Lifetime Achievement Award at the Gem Awards. In 2018, he won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Gem Society.

Lussier’s involvement with De Beers began at its then–U.S. ad agency N.W. Ayer, which he joined after getting an MBA from Columbia University and B.A. from Boston College.

In 1985, he became one of the few Ayer executives to make the leap to De Beers, joining the consumer and advertising division as market controller for the United States and Canada. In 1988, he became market controller for Japan, then De Beers’ number-two market, and three years later, he became regional director for all of Asia, which involved opening up the Chinese market.

In 1993, he became global director of the entire consumer and marketing department. Under his watch, the division produced still-remembered De Beers ad campaigns “Shadows” and “Hands” and launched epochal products such as the three-stone ring, right-hand ring, and Journey.

The move across the pond meant changes in his personal life as well: In 1995, he married Sophie Oppenheimer, a member of the family that then controlled De Beers. Lussier met his future wife when “she was hanging a painting in his office, but it was not until a year later that he took her out for lunch,” said Tatler.

In 2005, he was appointed to De Beers Group’s executive committee with responsibility for external and corporate affairs, at a time when the company had to deal with African governments’ increasing demands for beneficiation.

In 2009, he went back to his marketing roots and became CEO of the Forevermark brand, and in 2009, he was named executive vice president of marketing for De Beers Group. In 2019, he was appointed executive vice president of brands and consumer markets, overseeing all of De Beers’ downstream activities, including Forevermark and the De Beers jewelry chain, and helping to gather its various initiatives into the “one De Beers” strategy.

“Stephen’s contribution to De Beers and the entire diamond industry is singular and wide reaching,” said CEO Bruce Cleaver in a statement. “For 37 years he has shaped the soul of our product.”

A frequent JCK interview subject, Lussier has always been an articulate spokesperson for what he called the “diamond dream.”

“What has always fascinated is how diamonds make people feel,” he said at the Circle of Distinction dinner in 2018. “Expressing love and commitment is a precious and powerful moment, and it requires something powerful and precious to express that, something that is inherently a precious thing. And that is just a lovely way to spend one’s life.”

(Photos courtesy of De Beers)

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By: Rob Bates

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