Robert Gannicott is remembered as one of the pioneers and champions of Canada’s diamond industry, which he helped shape for more than two decades. The 69-year-old mining entrepreneur passed away on Wednesday after a battle with leukemia. He was diagnosed in 2014.
Gannicott will always be linked to one company: Dominion Diamond Corp. He got involved with the firm in 1992, shortly before it discovered the Diavik mine in the Northwest Territories, and was a driving force at Dominion right up to this year.
He led the company through tremendous growth and change during his time as chief executive. His key deals were the purchase (and later the sale) of the Harry Winston diamond retail business, and the acquisition of the Ekati mine near Diavik. Today, Dominion is a $1 billion company and is planning a big expansion at Ekati that Gannicott championed.
“He rarely spent much time dwelling on his successes,” said Brendan Bell, who succeeded Gannicott as Dominion’s CEO. “He was very focused on what we were doing next and not interested in the rear-view mirror.”
Industry colleagues described him as a forceful CEO who was determined to achieve all his goals. But at the same time, they said he was a good listener who cared about his employees and engendered strong loyalty from those close to him.
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