Sunday, September 23, 2018
Philippe Mellier

Philippe Mellier

De Beers

AS leader of one of three divisions in the restructured Anglo American, responsibility rests on De Beers’ Mellier to drive Anglo’s recovery under CEO, Mark Cutifani. Tough situations require big decisions: hence, Mellier shut Snap Lake, the Canadian mine where De Beers has not turned a profit in seven years. The group’s South African production base has also been reduced to two operations. One apparently permanent challenge is navigating the partnership with the government of Botswana where De Beers derives a large portion of its diamond output. Perhaps most importantly of all, is De Beers’ role as market custodian – a circumstance that has pushed and pulled its identity and business practices down the years. 2016 will require De Beers to restore relations with rough diamond buyers who regard it as having put its own commercial interests ahead of their own. Mellier has also committed De Beers to never-seen-before transparency, a huge cultural switch for a company the DNA of which was written a century ago. Other transformative efforts have included allowing sightholders – the buyers of its rough diamonds - to defer in purchases as their access to debt narrows. De Beers once rejected its role as market maker, but it has embraced it again: tens of millions of dollars has been committed to 2016 spend in an effort to stimulate diamond jewellery buying in the US and China.

LIFE OF PHILLIPPE

Born in 1955, Mellier is a mechanical engineer with a work history in the automotive sector at Ford Motor Company where he was vice-president of marketing, Renault and the Volvo Group. Before joining De Beers in 2011, he was president of Alstom Transport. He is fluent in Spanish, English Portuguese and, of course, French.