Rory More O’Ferrall, De Beers director of External Affairs, will retire on March 30, capping a 36-year career with the South African diamond company.
O’Ferrall began his career with the De Beers Group following six years in the British Army, leaving with the rank of Captain. He joined the company’s Central Selling Organization in 1971 as a diamond buyer and spent five years in Zaire, Sierra Leone, and Antwerp.
Throughout the 70s and 80s, O’Ferrall was in the sales department, responsible for rough diamond sales to Belgium, the U.S., Israel, and the Far East, before becoming sales manager and a member of the CSO’s Management Committee in 1986.
In 1989, he was seconded to South Africa as advisor to the Sales and Corporate Communications Departments before returning to London in 1991 as manager banking liaison, responsible for De Beers contacts with leading banks financing the international diamond industry, a position he held for seven years. Rory also organized many acclaimed De Beers’ special events during that time.
In 1998, he joined the Corporate Communications Department and was appointed Director Corporate Affairs (later Public & Corporate Affairs) in 2000. He undertook a radical restructuring of the department and redefined its role. In the 2004 reorganization of the De Beers Group he became director of External Affairs.
O’Ferrall was at the forefront of the development and implementation of the Group’s policy on ‘conflict diamonds’. He chaired De Beers’ conflict diamonds committee, was instrumental in the creation of the World Diamond Council (of which he is a director) and has been actively involved in the Kimberley Process. In parallel with this work, he has been the primary point of contact for De Beers with the United Nations, the U.S. State, Treasury and Commerce departments, the UK and other national governments, the OECD and a range of non-governmental organisations.
O’Ferrall’s work for the diamond industry has been marked by Honorary Life Membership of the London Diamond Bourse & Club, Honorary Life Membership of the World Jewellery Confederation, CIBJO, and a “distinguished service” award from the New York Diamond Dealers Club.
“Rory has been an outstanding Ambassador for De Beers and the diamond industry in the international arena, especially in the Kimberley Process,” said Nicky Oppenheimer, De Beers chairman. “I think it is this particular achievement for which De Beers and the entire diamond industry owe Rory our greatest gratitude.”