Peter Meeus, managing director of Antwerp’s Hoge Raad voor Diamant—known in English as the Diamond High Council—has resigned from the promotional group, an apparent victim of Antwerp’s internal politics as the Belgian industry searches for a role in the new diamond world order.
Particularly acute are splits over De Beers’ Supplier of Choice, which has drawn a clear dividing line between smaller and larger companies, especially sightholders. Many have felt that larger sightholders are overrepresented on the HRD board.
Anticipating a revolt against big companies in the new board elections, Dilip Mehta, chief executive officer of the very large Rosy Blue, resigned as a director of HRD. “I cannot recognize myself anymore in the HRD … in which large players are apparently not welcome anymore,” Mehta said in a release. “The Antwerp diamond sector needs an organization that looks ahead and sees the opportunities in new trends instead of an organization that keeps on dreaming of the past.”
Until Meeus’s successor is appointed, his position will be filled by a tripartite management team consisting of three HRD veterans: Chris Swolfs, Youri Steverlynck, and Mark Van Bockstael.
Swolfs, current director of business development, will control the HRD lab. Steverlynck, current public relations director, is now in charge of general services, the diamond office, public relations, and contacts with the authorities. And Van Bockstael, manager of international affairs who spearheaded the industry’s response to the conflict diamond issue, will be responsible for foreign contacts.