RAPAPORT... The board of directors for the World Diamond Council (WDC) elected Edward Asscher, a fifth-generation diamantaire who heads the Royal Asscher Diamond Company of the Netherlands, as its new president.
Andrew Bone, the head of government and industry relations for De Beers Group, was elected the WDC's vice president and Ronnie VanderLinden, the representative of the U.S. coalition and the president of the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America (DMIA), was elected treasurer.
The vote for WDC officers took place during the first formal meeting of the organization's 20-person board. Asscher will serve as president for a single two-year term, following which he will be succeeded by the sitting vice president.
Asscher, pictured, who was born in 1946, began working at the family-owned Royal Asscher Diamond Company in 1970 after completing his master's degree in economics at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He served as president of the International Diamond Council from 1990 to 2008, is a past president of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), and is vice president of the European Council of Diamond Manufacturers. Outside of the diamond industry, he is a past president of the Dutch Liberal Party and served as a senator in the Dutch Parliament from 2007 to 2011.
"I am looking forward to continue the work of both my predecessors to whom we all are grateful," Asscher said. "The board and I will give new energy to implement the Kimberley Process, which has been so successful in preventing conflict diamonds getting into the trade. Consumers must remain able to maintain confidence in our products, and the wellbeing of all who are involved in the diamond trade must be the focus of our mission. That is the legacy which I want to be able to pass onto the next generation of young adults who work in the diamond industry, wherever in the world."
Bone added, "I am honored to have been elected by my peers to this responsible position and my thanks go out to all who were involved in the process. I look forward to working closely with Edward and Ronnie, fellow board members and, very importantly, the wider membership to build further on the successes achieved under Eli Izhakoff and Avi Paz. Our task is to ensure that together we can rise to the challenges that await us and take advantage of the opportunities presented to us."
VanderLinden said, "I greatly appreciate the trust that our colleagues have shown in us. I look forward to working closely with Edward and Andy, as well as the board of directors and the membership of the WDC, on behalf of our great industry."