GIA Adds Executive Positions, Ellis to Retire

The Gemological Institute of America on Thursday announced the creation of new positions in Education and International Operations, as well as the retirement of a senior executive.

GIA has appointed Duncan Pay, director of Course Development, to the newly created position of chief Academic Officer. In this new role, which will become effective Jan. 1, Pay will assume the responsibilities of Brook Ellis, vice president of Education, who has announced his plans to retire from GIA.

Pay joined the staff of GIA in 1998, and has served as director of Course Development since 2001. With an educational background in geology, Pay brought to the Institute 15 years of industry experience in retailing, wholesale buying, and course development. A principal architect of GIA’s new-generation education program, Pay was recognized as a Staff Member of the Year in 2001.

GIA has also created the new role of vice president of International Operations, and has named Tawfic Farah to the position, effective June 1. Farah will report directly to Donna Baker, president of GIA.

Farah will be responsible for all international activities at GIA. Directors of GIA’s international locations, as well as Seung-Hae Moon, director of Global Education, will report to him on matters of business planning and operations.  GIA Education and the GIA Laboratory will be responsible for gemological matters.

Farah returns to GIA from the Dubai Multi-Commodities Commission where he served as executive director for Diamonds and Colored Stones since June 2004. At the DMCC, he worked as a project leader for government relations with numerous diamond producing countries and established trading platforms for diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. He has a PhD in political science from the University of Nebraska, and has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in comparative development and international relations at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Brook Ellis plans to step down from his current position as vice president of Education at GIA on Dec. 31, 2007, and take on a new role at GIA as executive advisor to assist with transitional issues until his full retirement in June 2009.

Ellis joined GIA in 1995 as vice president of Operations and became vice president of Education in 1996. From 1983 to 1995, he served as a member of GIA’s Board of Governors. 

During Ellis’ tenure, GIA Education opened new schools in London, Moscow, Los Angeles, China, and India, thereby expanding GIA’s global presence to 14 schools in 11 countries. Ellis also supervised the introduction of the Accredited Jewelry Professional diploma, the Applied Jewelry Arts diploma, the Jewelry Business Management diploma, and the Bachelor of Business Administration degree offered by the GIA School of Business.

Ellis’s career began in 1959 with Henry Birks & Sons, Ltd., one of Canada’s largest fine jewelry chains, where he ultimately filled the role of vice president of Fine Jewelry. He is a past director of the American Gem Society and past president of Jewellers Vigilance Canada, Inc.

Brook received the American Gem Society’s Certified Gemologist title in 1974. Elected to the Distance Education and Training Council’s Board of Trustees in 2000, Brook was also elected second vice president of DETC in 2001 and to its Accrediting Commission in 2002. He served as DETC treasurer and was recently honored with its Distinguished Service Award.