Stuart Brown has been appointed CEO of Firestone Diamonds with effect from 1 December 2013 following his appointment to the company as an executive director, effective 2 September 2013.“I am extremely excited by the opportunity that Firestone provides and I look forward to bringing all my experience and passion for diamonds to the company as it moves to its next phase of developing the Liqhobong deposit. After two years out of the diamond industry – an industry that has been a huge part of my life for 20 years – I am thoroughly revitalised, and ready to help Firestone bring a high quality, near-term asset on stream,” said Brown following the announcement. The AIM-quoted diamond mining and development company announced that Tim Wilkes, its current CEO will stand down from his role on 30 November 2013 and Brown will assume the role of CEO from 1 December 2013. Wilkes will remain with the company as an Executive Director. Wilkes said he looked forward to working with Brown again, and being an integral member of the team that develops Firestone into a +1 million carat per annum producer. “I welcome the Board of Directors’ efforts and commitment in strengthening the executive committee which I see as a major step forward for Firestone.” Brown, aged 49, spent 20 years at the De Beers Group, the diamond company. His early career included positions in the finance divisions at Teemane Diamond Manufacturing in Botswana and at the Premier Mine in South Africa. In 1999, Stuart was appointed as Finance Manager for De Beers Global Exploration and in 2001 he was appointed General Manager for De Beers Geological Services in South Africa. This move led to Brown’s Head of Finance role for all De Beers companies in South Africa and then to the post of CFO of De Beers Consolidated Mines. In 2006, Brown was appointed De Beers Group CFO. In August 2010, subsequent to the De Beers Group CEO leaving, Stuart was appointed Acting Joint CEO to run the entire De Beers Group in tandem with his CFO duties.
Stuart was also a long serving member on the Boards of all the senior companies in the De Beers Group, including: De Beers SA, Debswana Diamond Company, De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited, Namdeb Diamond Corporation and Element Six SA.Lucio Genovese, Chairman was delighted with the announcement. “Brown brings over 20 years’ experience in the diamond business at De Beers where he was on the executive management team including Joint Acting CEO in 2011. His appointment is in line with Firestone’s previously stated objective to further strengthen our executive management team in order to assist in the development of our flagship Liqhobong project in Lesotho. “I would like to also take this opportunity to thank Wilkes for all of his dedication and hard work during his tenure as CEO. Wilkes has actively contributed towards repositioning the company to focus on Liqhobong and I look forward to continuing to work with him on this project.” Liqhobong Mine in Lesotho is Firestone’s principal asset, and is located at the head of the Liqhobong Valley in the Maluti Mountains of northern Lesotho. It is operated by Liqhobong Mining Development Company (Proprietary) Limited (LMDC), which is 75% owned by Firestone Diamonds and 25% owned by the government of Lesotho. Liqhobong is considered to be one of the largest and most attractive undeveloped kimberlite resources in the world.