Feriel Zerouki, a trailblazer in the diamond industry, made history last week as she officially assumed the role of president of the World Diamond Council (WDC). She becomes the first woman to hold this highly regarded position.
Zerouki began her diamond industry journey in 2005 when, joining De Beers’ DTC as a supply chain analyst. She was named their Best Practice Principles manager in 2009, overseeing ethical standards for De Beers’ as well as the company’s sightholders and contractors. She was appointed Head of International Relations in 2014, at which time she became involved with the WDC, and played a pivotal role in leading the De Beers’ Tracr initiative, which aims to establish transparency and origin tracking within the diamond industry. Zerouki was also a proactive supporter of GemFair, a program dedicated to ensuring improvements and equitable compensation for workers in the artisanal diamond mining sector. She is now De Beers’ Vice President of Corporate Affairs.
Zerouki was elected WDC vice president in 2020. In addition to the work she has done with De Beers’, she contributes expertise in promoting best practices as a Board member of the Responsible Jewellery Council and, more recently, a member of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee Board. She holds degrees in Mathematics and Business Management from London’s Queen Mary University, and speaks Arabic, French and English fluently. She succeeds outgoing President Edward Asscher, who has completed the second of two (non-consecutive) terms as WDC president.
Zerouki paid tribute to Asscher in her comments:
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 WDC has elected Ronnie VanderLinden to succeed Zerouki as Vice President while Anoop Mehta was elected treasurer and Udi Sheintal was reappointed secretary. VanderLinden will take over as WDC president after Zerouki completes her two-year term.
IGI joined the World Diamond Council in February, 2023. Other prominent members include Tiffany & Co, Signet, Chow Tai Fook, Rosy Blue, DeBeers, the Responsible Jewellery Council, World Jewellery Confederation, World Federation of Diamond Bourses, and Antwerp World Diamond Center, among others. The membership includes entities from all trade sectors, from rough diamond producers to retail jewelers, making it one of the only industry bodies where the supply chain is represented in full.