* De Beers insider Cleaver, 51, named as new CEO
* Anglo American focused on De Beers after overhaul
* Analysts say strong choice for central division
(Adds background, quotes)
BENGALURU/BRUSSELS, May 27 Anglo American Plc's
De Beers named insider Bruce Cleaver as chief executive
of the diamond group, which the global mining company is
counting on to help revive its fortunes.
Cleaver takes on the new role at a difficult time for De
Beers as Diamond sales stagnated in 2015, hit by a weaker
Chinese economy. However, producers are seeing scope for
recovery, especially in the United States, which accounts for
some 45 percent of demand.
Anglo American, which has an 85 percent stake in De Beers --
the world's largest diamond producer by value -- is focusing on
the diamond business after a restructuring.
Cleaver, 51, was previously group director of strategy and
business development at De Beers. He will take over the role on
July 1, the company said on Friday.
He succeeds Philippe Mellier, 60, who is stepping down
saying he had envisaged his job as a five-year plan.
"Having steered through some of the diamond industry's
toughest times and with the market showing signs of recovery,
now is the right time for me to pass the baton to the next
generation," he said in a statement.
Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American and
Chairman of De Beers, said Cleaver, offered "strong continuity
at an important stage in the diamond market's recovery".
Cleaver first joined De Beers' board in 2008 and served as
its co-acting CEO in 2010 before Mellier's appointment.
"He is a very solid internal choice for what is arguably the
key division," Jeremy Wrathall, analyst at Investec, said.
Investec has predicted De Beers will transform the shape of
Anglo American as the firm, battling with high levels of debt
following the commodities rout, shifts towards diamonds and
platinum and away from more industrial assets such as coal.
(Reporting by Mamidipudi Soumithri in Bengaluru and Barbara
Lewis in Brussels; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Alexander