Friday, December 14, 2018
Bruce Cleaver

Bruce Cleaver

De Beers

BRUCE Cleaver appears focused on two key strategies at De Beers on the marketing and operational fronts. One: make diamonds more appealing to the millennial generation – which will become the most important diamond-buying section of the population in some ten to 15 years when they reach their peak affluence. Two: make the organisation flexible enough to successfully develop small diamond mines. Diamond market observers are completely in agreement with the need to get more business from millennials, but they are a lot more sceptical on De Beers’ chances of becoming a successful small diamond mine operator. To adapt the saying: “There’s a right way of doing things; there’s a wrong way of doing things, and there’s a De Beers way of doing things”. The De Beers way of doing things just doesn’t cut it in the junior mining space where capital expenditure gets cut to the bone, along with corporate overheads. De Beers’ most embarrassing failure in this field concerned the AK6 project in Botswana, which it previously controlled. However, the project was developed into the successful Karowe mine by rival Lucara Diamonds. One of the reasons Cleaver is reviewing De Beers’ strategy is the dearth of large diamond strikes. Despite intensive exploration efforts, there have been no big finds during the past 30 years, and there are none in prospect in the foreseeable future.


He’s a “legal eagle” by profession, holding an LLB from the University of Cape Town and an LLM from Cambridge University. His BSc degree is in applied maths. He joined De Beers as general counsel in 2005, crossing over from legal firm Webber Wentzel where he was a partner. He then rose rapidly through the ranks, becoming head of strategy and business development in 2011, and then doing the same job for Anglo American from January 2016. He was appointed De Beers CEO in July 2016 after Philippe Mellier stepped down.