The Business On: Philippe Mellier, CEO-designate, De Beers
Tuesday 17 May 2011
Diamonds are forever?
Not in Mr Mellier's case. De Beers is a diamond miner based in South Africa, yet its new boss has never worked in South Africa, has no experience of the diamond trade and is new to the mining industry.
So what has he done?
He's spent almost his entire career working in the motor industry – he spent almost 20 years at Ford, invarious senior positions, and then moved to Renault. Latterly, Mr Mellier, a Frenchman, has been asenior executive at Alstom, thetransport specialist.
Is De Beers planning some sort of strategic change of direction?
No. Nicky Oppenheimer, the chairman of the company (and representative of his family, which owns 40 per cent of De Beers) reckons Mr Mellier will bring "fresh perspective". He and Anglo American, the miner that has 45 per cent of the business, also think the new boss's considerable project management experience will be a valuable transferable skill.
Why does De Beers need a new pair of eyes?
Well, the company is at an interesting point in its history. It has largely put its financial problems of a couple of years ago behind it, but it's no longer the world's largest producer of diamonds. New mines in Botswana are of growing importance for the company, and it's trying hard to crack sales in China.
How will Mr Mellier help?
Well, on the plus side, as his new employers say, he does have experience of big projects of the sort De Beers is pursuing in Botswana (and a degree from Insead, the top-notch business school). He's also used to dealing with governments, an important part of De Beers' business. Less happily, he hasn't always got on well with the Chinese – once calling for a ban on certain exports from there.
And will he be presiding over a stock market float?
That has been the gossip of late that De Beers might pursue an IPO. Still, the company is not even talking about such a prospect for now – and the Oppenheimers say they have no plans to reduce their stake.
- 1 Autism 'caused by genetics', study suggests
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Why you should never make assumptions about people with autism
- 4 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
How Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson over a decade before scientists
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Harrison Ford plane crash: Star Wars actor 'seriously injured' after light aircraft crash lands
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
iJobs Money & Business
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...
£30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...