Feriel Zerouki is the new President of the World Diamond Council, following three years as Vice President and almost two decades as a leading advocate for enhancing standards and driving progress within the diamond industry.
She assumed office on May 15 at a meeting of the WDC Board of Directors in London, taking over from Edward Asscher, who completed the second of two non-consecutive terms as WDC president.
During the meeting, the WDC Board approved the election of Ronnie VanderLinden as the new WDC Vice President. According to the organization’s Bylaws, he will become the next president when Ms. Zerouki ends her term in office.
The WDC Board also confirmed the election of Anoop Mehta as the new WDC Treasurer, and re-appointed Udi Sheintal to the position of WDC Secretary.
Born in the United Arab Emirates and from Algerian descent, Ms. Zerouki joined the diamond industry in 2005 as a supply chain analyst at De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company.
In 2009 she was appointed Best Practices Principles Manager at De Beers, with responsibility for building and maintaining a leading set of ethical standards for the De Beers Group, Sightholders and their diamond contractors, covering business, social and environmental issues.
In 2014 she was appointed Head of International Relations at De Beers. It was in this position that she began her association with the WDC. During this period, she helped initiate Tracr, with an objective to provide traceability and provenance for the diamond sector, and GemFair, created to support the formalization of the artisanal diamond mining sector, through which miners receive fair value offers for their diamonds.
More recently Ms. Zerouki was appointed Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at De Beers Group. She also serves as an Officer on the Board of Directors of the Responsible Jewellery Council and this year was appointed to the Board of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee.
Ms. Zerouki paid tribute to the outgoing WDC President. “Edward has served the WDC with distinction, dutifully representing the interests of our members and diverse stakeholders during a period in which the industry has navigated unprecedented events. His determination to always act with probity while also protecting the integrity of diamonds and the diamond value chain has been a personal inspiration to me. I am committed to upholding these principles and in particular Edward’s consistent call not to leave anyone behind, which will remain a foundational principle of the WDC.”
The new WDC President emphasized her belief that the industry association can play a uniting role within the Kimberley Process, in part because its membership crosses geographic and industry lines, including rough producers, manufacturers and dealers, and jewelry retailers in markets across the globe. “We all – Participants and Observers – have a vested interest in the success of the KP and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, and in ensuring that they are provided the scope and the means to protect the diamond distribution chain moving forward,” she said. “The current KP Review and Reform cycle, in which WDC is deeply involved, is of critical importance, for it addresses directly what needs to be done to position the KP effectively in a much-changed and fast-evolving landscape.”
Ms. Zerouki will lead the WDC delegation at the five-day 2023 Kimberley Process Intersessional meeting, which will begin next week, on May 21, at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.