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Toby Frears Appointed Head of Okavango Diamond Company

Plans to Launch Trading in Gaborone in 2Q 2013‎

Aug 13, 2012 10:51 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... Botswana’s state-owned Okavango Diamond Company (ODC)  appointed Toby Frears, a former De Beers executive,  its first managing director as the company plans to launch trading ‎in Gaborone by the second quarter of 2013.‎

‎“The appointment of Mr. Frears as ODC’s managing director is an important milestone,” said ‎Jacob Thamage, Botswana’s diamond hub coordinator and chairman of the ODC board. ‎‎“Supported by the board, he will lead the ‎new company’s development and operations until a ‎Motswana is suitably prepared for the ‎role.”‎

Frears (pictured) served as head of diamond sorting and valuing operations at the Diamond ‎Trading Company Botswana (DTCB), where he was previously head of sales.‎ He left DTCB in March 2012.

He was appointed to ODC’s interim board along with Thamage, Banny Molosiwa, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Bashi Moesi, Botswana’s Deputy Attorney ‎General and Cornelius Dekop, the Secretary for Development and Budget at the Ministry of Finance ‎and Development Planning.‎

ODC was set up in March 2012 following the 2011 agreement between De Beers and ‎Botswana to make a portion of Debswana’s production available for sale, ‎independent of the DTC. According to the agreement, the government’s share of Debswana’s ‎production, 10 percent of which was available retroactively from the beginning of 2011, will ‎increase by 1 percent each year until it reaches 15 percent in 2016. Debswana, a ‎joint venture between De Beers and  Botswana, recorded ‎production of 22.89 million carats in 2011. Production fell 9 percent year on year to 10.294 ‎million carats in the first half of 2012.    ‎

The government had initially envisioned launching sales by ODC in the first half of 2012 but ‎delays in appointing a managing director and developing a business plan put the plan on hold. ‎Thamage noted that the newly appointed board has approved an aggressive establishment plan ‎that will see ODC commence trading ‎from Gaborone in the second quarter of 2013.‎

Frears explained that in the coming months the board will focus on developing and implementing ‎ODC’s launch plan, putting together a management team, including the appointment of a deputy ‎managing director and  developing its strategy and operating plan, in order to  define its sales model and ‎identify and equip suitable premises for the start of trading activities.‎

‎“I feel privileged to have been offered this position and excited about the opportunity to build a ‎commercially driven company that will contribute to the further development of Botswana’s ‎expanding downstream diamond industry,” Frears said. “ODC’s commercial strategy will be to ‎deliver a market leading value proposition, which will encourage diamantaires from Botswana ‎and across the world to acquire their rough diamonds from ODC at globally competitive, market ‎determined prices.”‎
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Tags: Avi Krawitz, Botswana, Diamond Trading Company, DTCB, ODC, Okavango Diamond Company, Rapaport, Toby Frears
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