Gareth Penny,┬áChief Executive Officer┬áof┬áDe Beers International,┬ápulled a surprise announcement on the global diamond industry Friday as he indicated that he will be leaving the company in the coming months.
Penny, 48, has worked for De Beers for the past 22 years ÔÇô including the last five years when he has been at the helm of the world’s biggest┬ádiamond mining group.
Penny‘s departure was announced on Friday after sterling half year results that showed that the company was emerging out of┬á the worst recession since World War II.
Nicky Oppenheimer, chairman of De Beers, said, “These results are a testament to Gareth Penny’s leadership, which saw the company through the recession, and positioned it for strong revenue growth as we emerged into recovery.
┬á“Gareth has made an enormous contribution to De Beers throughout his 22 years with the company and, most recently, five years as CEO. He has been a passionate and effective leader during some of the most difficult challenges De Beers has faced in its long history. I have full confidence in the experienced management team that Gareth has assembled, who will carry on our current course to deliver shareholder value.”
The company, which is 45 percent controlled by┬áAnglo American, 40 percent Oppenheimer family while the rest is held by Botswana government, has not yet named the successor.
On Friday, Chief Financial Officer, Stuart Brown, and Chief Commercial Officer, Bruce Cleaver, were appointed as acting joint-CEOs as the search for a new CEO is underway.
Idexonline┬á┬ásaid on Friday that the past 18 months have been an extremely challenging period for the diamond industry, for De Beers and for him personally.┬á
“After overseeing the response to the global financial crisis and the company’s subsequent recovery, the CEO of De Beers, Gareth Penny, has advised the Board that he believes it is an appropriate time for him to step down,” the company said.
Penny has also worked at Teemane Manufacturing CompanyÔÇödiamond polishing and cutting outfit –┬áin Serowe, which has since been taken over by Diarough.