Antwerp: Feriel Zerouki, a prominent advocate for advancing standards in the diamond industry, has taken the helm as the new President of the World Diamond Council (WDC). With an impressive track record spanning nearly two decades, Zerouki brings extensive experience and a vision for driving progress in the diamond industry.
Zerouki’s appointment as WDC President was announced during a meeting of the WDC Board of Directors held in London. She succeeds Edward Asscher, who completed his second non-consecutive term as WDC President. Zerouki previously served as Vice President of the WDC for three years, demonstrating her dedication and leadership within the organisation.
During the meeting, the WDC Board also approved the election of Anoop Mehta as the new WDC Treasurer; Udi Sheintal, WDC Secretary; and Ronnie VanderLinden as the new WDC Vice President.
Born in the United Arab Emirates and of Algerian descent, Zerouki embarked on her diamond industry career in 2005 as a supply chain analyst at De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company. Her role expanded in 2009 when she became the Best Practices Principles Manager at De Beers, responsible for establishing and upholding ethical standards across the De Beers Group and its affiliates, encompassing various business, social, and environmental aspects.
Zerouki’s affiliation with the WDC began in 2014 when she assumed the position of Head of International Relations at De Beers. During her tenure, she played a pivotal role in spearheading Tracr, an initiative aimed at providing traceability and provenance for the diamond sector. Additionally, she championed GemFair, a program designed to support the formalisation of the artisanal diamond mining sector, ensuring fair value for miners’ diamonds.
In her most recent role as Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at De Beers Group, Zerouki continued to make significant contributions to the industry. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Responsible Jewellery Council and recently joined the Board of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee.
Zerouki paid tribute to the outgoing WDC President, noting, “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.”
Zerouki outlined her vision for the WDC, highlighting its potential to unite stakeholders within the Kimberley Process. With a diverse membership representing various geographic locations and industry sectors, including rough producers, manufacturers, dealers, and jewellery retailers worldwide, the WDC can play a crucial role in safeguarding the diamond distribution chain.
Addressing the ongoing KP Review and Reform cycle, in which the WDC is actively involved, Zerouki emphasised its importance in adapting to the changing landscape and securing the future of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
Zerouki’s first official engagement as WDC President will be leading the WDC delegation at the upcoming five-day 2023 Kimberley Process Intersessional meeting, scheduled to commence on 21st May at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.