Jewellery News Asia (JNA), the primary organiser of the inaugural JNA Awards, to be held in Hong Kong in September, has announced that it will confer its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award on De Beers group chairperson and South African mining stalwart Nicky Oppenheimer, in recognition of his noteworthy contribution to the global diamond business, particularly in Asia.
JNA founder Letitia Chow says that the award will honour Oppenheimer’s significant and fundamental contributions to the industry through his achievements at De Beers and the Diamond Trading Company, which have made him one of the key figures and thought leaders of the global diamond industry.
“Oppenheimer has, with his inspired guidance and outstanding leadership, contributed extensively to the development of the diamond jewellery markets in the twin growth engines of Asia – China and India. This has further enhanced the vital role that De Beers has played in the region by establishing the Japanese diamond jewellery market,” she explains.
Oppenheimer has expressed his appreciation, saying that nowhere has the growth of the consumer’s love affair with diamonds been more evident than in markets across Asia.
“It is a real honour for me, representing generations of the Oppenheimer family, to receive this prestigious award from Jewel-lery News Asia. The Oppenheimer family’s passion for diamonds, as well as our commitment to good corporate citizenship, goes back a long way. More than 50 years ago, my grandfather, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, stated in his role as chairperson of De Beers that the company must be dedicated not only to generating returns for shareholders, but also to making a real and sustainable commitment to the countries and communities in which it operates. Although the Oppenheimer family’s long association with De Beers has now come to an end, I have no doubt that this commitment remains as steadfast today as it was then,” he asserts.
Nicky Oppenheimer joined Anglo American in 1968 and was appointed a director of the corporation in 1974 and a director of De Beers in 1978.
He became a member of the executive committee of the board of Anglo American in 1981 and its deputy chairperson in 1983, and a year later was appointed deputy chairperson of the Central Selling Organisation, which is now the Diamond Trad-ing Company.
In 1985, he became deputy chair- person of De Beers Consolidated Mines and chairperson of the Diamond Trading Company and, in 1990, was appointed deputy chairperson of the newly formed Swiss-based company, De Beers Centenary AG.
Nicky Oppenheimer subsequently became chairperson of the De Beers group on January 1, 1998.