Centrica's Julian Mears joins De Beers in global comms role

Diamond mining and sales giant De Beers Group has created two top-tier positions as it seeks to address negative perceptions of the industry.

Poached: Julian Mears is moving to De Beers from Centrica
Poached: Julian Mears is moving to De Beers from Centrica

Julian Mears has been poached from his role as head of group media relations at Centrica for the newly created global role of head of external comms. The company is also recruiting for the new role of head of internal comms.

Both will report to global head of corporate affairs David Prager, who said that the two positions reflected ‘the fact that the environment in which we operate presents a lot of opportunities and risks for us’.

Last month the company, which accounts for 40 per cent of the world’s rough diamond output, said it would back stricter rules to keep so-called ‘blood diamonds’ off the market.

The move comes amid ongoing criticism of the Kimberley Process, which came into force in 2003 to stop the trade of conflict diamonds.

Despite success, it has seen rifts within its membership, which includes diamond businesses, NGOs and governments from 80 countries.

Prager said: ‘The risks are in the perception that people may have about the product and where it is mined.

‘It is our job as a business to inform consumers so they are comfortable with, but proud of, where the diamonds have come from.

‘Julian has worked in a complex industry, and has a good understanding of the commercial drivers of an organisation.’ 

Mears, whose Centrica responsibilities will be partly taken over in the interim by ex-Brunswick partner Sophie Fitton, leaves his current role next month.  

He said: ‘This is a very exciting opportunity to lead comms at the world’s leading diamond company with retail markets around the world.’

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