Anglo's Cutifani is the new chairman of 125-year-old De Beers

Anglo American (LON:AAL) chief executive, Mark Cutifani, became Thursday the new chairman of diamond producer De Beers Group, succeeding Cynthia Carroll, who had to leave both companies late last year due to shareholders pressure over the miner’s overall performance.

Cutifani, the second non-South African to head Anglo American, said in a statement he was honoured to join and lead the De Beers board.

“The company’s 125-year heritage, experienced management team and unparalleled understanding of the unique nature of the diamond market, make it the world’s leading diamond company,” he added.

Cecil Rhodes formed De Beers Consolidated Mines in 1888. Recognizing that limiting the production of diamonds was the only way to enhance their value, Rhodes bought up or squelched competitors. Cullinan Mine, operated by Bernard and Ernest Oppenheimer, refused to join the De Beers cartel, and the business grew to rival De Beers.

During World War I Cullinan Mine was finally absorbed into De Beers, and Ernest Oppenheimer became chairman of De Beers in 1927. He also founded Anglo American in 1917.

With De Beers going private a decade ago and now being subsumed by Anglo-American direct exposure for resource investors to diamonds had always been hard to come by.

De Beers is the globe's No.2 diamond producer behind Russia's Alrosa and had diamond mining operations across Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada, boasting a workforce of about 23,000.