HRD General Assembly approves restructuring plan

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (HRD) General Assembly has given the green light to a plan which will lead to a change in the structure of its board of directors, and ultimately in the composition of the organization itself, the Antwerp Facets News Service reports. The plan was put together over the past month by a team of legal specialists, acting on the instruction of the Belgian prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt.

According to the approved plan, which essentially is the first stage of a more comprehensive restructuring process, the HRD board will now consist of 12 directors, half of whom will be elected directly by the diamond trade, and the other half elected by the diamond bourses and manufacturers. There will be one independent director. This replaces the system by which the 13 professional member organizations of HRD together appointed 20 directors in four categories—trade, industry, bourses and banks/manufacturers.

The new structure guarantees a representation of both the large and small companies active in the Belgian diamond center, the HRD said. Traders with a turnover of more than 100 million euros, between 30 million and 100 million euros and less than 30 million euros will each have two representatives on the board. The intention is that the umbrella organization of the Antwerp diamond industry becomes more transparent and constitutes a better representation of the existing market composition.

The diamond bourses and the diamond industry will hold three and two seats, respectively, within the new board, and they will be appointed internally. The external director will be appointed to introduce corporate governance within the sector.

“The existing proportions in the market are better reflected in the new structure. By electing directors directly among all active diamantaires, the problem of representativeness is also solved in a single operation.” says Youri Steverlynck, the HRD’s PR manager, who announced his resignation shortly after the restructuring system was approved.

New elections will be held in the second half of April, so that the new management can start work in May. It will then have to start looking for a new managing director, and then begin dealing with “Phase 2” of the restructuring plan, which will involve splitting off the commercial activities of the HRD.