CSO, R.I.P.

Everyone expected big news from De Beers' July press conference. At least three newspapers predicted the company would declare the end of its 100-year-old cartel.But when the moment came, executives spelled out a series of changes but adamantly refused to declare the end of the diamond world as we know it. "De Beers is not giving up its leadership position," De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer toldJCK in an exclusive interview. "We want to remain the leading diamond company in the world." The company did make one, largely symbolic, gesture that signals the dawn of the old order: It will no longer use the cartel-signifying Central Selling Organisation. But otherwise, reporters were left puzzled. One noted in a TV interview with managing director Gary Ralfe, "You're still the dominant player. Won't you end up operating a bit like a cartel?"And it's true, the structure and rudiments of
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