De Beers in double hire to tackle global critics

De Beers, the world's dominant diamond group, has made a brace of high-profile appointments as it looks to tackle its critics head on.

Chris Sorek, previously at software giant SAP, has joined as head of group public and corporate affairs, while David Prager leaves AstraZeneca to be head of media relations and comms.

Meanwhile Rosalind Kainyah - director of corporate comms for its Diamond Trading Company marketing arm - has moved to a public affairs role in New York. Prager said she would not be directly replaced.

De Beers faces mounting competition and a gamut of threats to its reputation.

Prager said: ‘Our appointments represent a commitment to engage in constructive dialogue with governments, NGOs and the media to communicate the role diamonds play in advancing local economies, providing access to healthcare, promoting education and driving employment.'

De Beers has been accused of moving Botswanan bushmen from their lands - something it firmly denies.

The industry is preparing for the release of The Blood Diamond, starring Leo Di Caprio as a smuggler who sells ‘conflict diamonds'. De Beers maintains it is 100 per cent ‘conflict-free'.

Sorek and Prager ­report to executive director of external and corporate ­affairs Stephen Lussier.

De Beers' global market share has fallen from 80 per cent 20 years ago to around half that today (source: FT Surveys, July 2006).

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