The resignation of four well-known, well-established employees of the Diamond Promotion Service since the beginning of the year has led some to wonder about the future of the Diamond Trading Company’s longtime liaison with the retail community.
Most recently, Sheryl Silberg joined Diamond Direct, a division of Classic Diamonds. She joins Rob May, who went to Universal Pacific/Pluczenik; Debbie Hiss, who went to Lazare Kaplan; and David Ramirez, who went to Daniel K. All the companies are sightholders.
When added to comments in JCK by De Beers marketing director Stephen Lussier that the DTC wants its future advertising to be more tied in with sightholders—as well as the closure of DPS offices in Germany and the United Kingdom—many in the market now question DPS’s future and De Beers’ long-term commitment to generic advertising.
But Richard Lennox, director in charge of the De Beers account, says there is “no real story here,” noting that “the DPS is very important to us and remains very important to us. … The core managers of the group remain in place. Four middle managers have decided to leave. We had [some of] these people for nearly seven years. That is amazing stability. We are very sorry to see these people go, but we are happy to see where they went because the net result is that we now have more marketing talent in the industry. That’s a good thing.” He also notes that DPS recently added some top-level executives with marketing experience.
Still, some of the ship-jumpers tell JCK privately that there is internal confusion and uncertainty about where DPS is headed. Lennox did concede changes may be afoot: “We constantly revise our models. We are on a constant evolutionary path. If you stand still in this industry, you die.” But he says, “The mission of the DPS has not changed: We want to drive demand for diamonds.”
When asked if future DTC marketing efforts will be tied into the recently instituted value-added services for sightholders, Lennox says, “Ultimately yes, but not in the immediate future.” He declined further comment, noting the situation is “legally quite complex.”
The other issue this raises is confidentiality. These days, being a sightholder means sharing a lot of information with DTC and DPS executives, including business plans, financials, and consumer information. So when people who have such information, such as DTC veteran Derek Palmer, leave DPS or DTC to join competing companies, it raises concerns.
“Confidentiality is an issue that we take extremely seriously, and we are looking at ways to alleviate people’s concerns in that area,” Lennox says.