De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver to Step Down in 2023
Cleaver, who has headed De Beers Group for more than six years, will be replaced by energy executive Al Cook.
Cleaver has headed De Beers for more than six years, stepping into the role in July 2016 to replace Philippe Mellier. (He also served as interim co-CEO in 2010-2011, between Gareth Penny and Mellier, the man he eventually replaced.)
During that time, Cleaver oversaw several key initiatives at the company, including the launch of lab-grown diamond brand Lightbox in 2018; the creation of blockchain platform Tracr; the launch of the world’s largest and most sophisticated marine diamond mining vessels, including the “Benguela Gem;” and the establishment of “Building Forever,” De Beers’ dozen sustainability goals for 2023.
He also guided the company through the COVID-19 pandemic.
After he steps down as CEO, Cleaver will become co-chairman of De Beers, serving alongside current Chairman Duncan Wanblad, chief executive at Anglo American, the mining conglomerate that owns 85 percent of De Beers.
Wanblad said: “[Cleaver] has successfully steered De Beers through a period of considerable change over the last six years, including leading the way through technology to provide consumers with absolute assurance of the ethical provenance of their diamonds.
“Bruce has successfully expanded De Beers’ horizons for the longer term and reinforced the company’s unquestioned leadership position, exemplified by De Beers’ Building Forever sustainability framework to ensure an enduring positive diamond legacy. I look forward to his contribution as co-chairman, ensuring the greatest continuity for the business and our partners and stakeholders.”
Cook will join De Beers Group with more than 25 years’ international leadership experience, primarily at BP—where he worked in various roles for 20 years, including as chief of staff to the CEO—and at Equinor ASA, an energy company based in Norway.
He currently is leading Equinor’s multi-billion-dollar exploration and production business in 12 countries across Africa, the Americas, and Europe.
Prior to that, he was in charge of the company’s global strategy and business development, which included developing its net zero strategy.
Cook holds an MA in natural sciences from St. John’s College, University of Cambridge, and completed the International Executive Programme at INSEAD in France.
He is a trustee of the charity The Power of Nutrition, which helps address malnutrition in children in Asia and Africa.
“I congratulate Al Cook on his appointment as CEO of De Beers,” Wanblad said. “I believe Al’s multi-disciplinary strategic skillset and strong personal conviction and values are ideally suited to the nature of De Beers, a global business that spans much of the spectrum, from exploration and mining to Bond Street and Madison Avenue.”
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