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  • Karen Rentmeesters, newly appointed interim CEO of AWDC.

AWDC Appoints Karen Rentmeesters as Interim CEO After Ari Epstein Quits


The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) has appointed Karen Rentmeesters as interim CEO following the sudden resignation of Ari Epstein.


The organisation announced the appointment on 15 April 2024, a few days after Ari Epstein said he was resigning after more than a decade in the position. 


Karen Rentmeesters joined AWDC’s public relations and communications department in February 2010, focusing on establishing and maintaining relationships with local and international industry stakeholders, serving the Antwerp diamond community, and promoting the Belgian city as a trading hub.


Throughout her time with AWDC, she has led teams of various sizes, built an extensive network, and garnered in-depth knowledge about the industry, said AWDC. Rentmeesters will focus on continuing the centre’s daily operations until a permanent CEO is appointed, AWDC said in a statement.


Rentmeesters said: “In the coming period, together with the entire management team, I will do everything in my power to continue Ari Epstein’s good work while providing the necessary peace of mind.”


“The entire diamond industry is in the midst of a period of transformation towards greater transparency and faces challenging times. As a sector federation representing the interests of the Antwerp diamond companies, it is important that we guide them through this period and offer them stability. I will be fully committed to that,” she added.


Epstein stepped down as CEO after 19 years with AWDC, thirteen of them as CEO. AWDC did not give reason for his resignation. It followed the introduction of Group of Seven (G7) sanctions on importing diamonds mined in Russian. The implementation of a European Union import ban on polished diamonds originating from Russian rough has led to severe delays at Antwerp’s Diamond Office, the city’s customs centre, with 146 Belgian companies writing to the AWDC to complain. Antwerp later hired additional staff for its Diamond Office, which it said was helping to move goods through in a timely manner. (Photo courtesy: AWDC)




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