Diamond giant calls Calgary home
Amidst thousands of jobs losses and shrinking head offices in our city, some unusual news: a prestigious diamond company has decided to call Calgary its new home.
De Beers is one of the largest diamond mining and processing companies in the world.
Like oil, the market for diamonds has dipped. So, in an effort to cut costs, the diamond giant decided to move their Canadian corporate headquarters from Toronto to Calgary.
There were other cities in contention – including Vancouver – but De Beers Canada CEO, Kim Truter, says Calgary perfectly suited to their needs.
“Taking into account things like logistics, cost of living, attraction, retention – all of those criteria – Calgary came out the winner,” said Truter, “especially on the logistics aspect. As you know, Calgary is the logistics hub of Canada; so, it’s perfect for our needs.”
An extra perk: Calgary is cheaper than De Beer’s old Toronto corporate headquarters.
“I mean our timing was very, very good. It helped us get an attractive office rental price,” said Truter.
De Beers employs 900 people across Canada. The office at the Airport Corporate Centre is home to 67 of them. Close to 30 people moved, with their jobs, from Eastern Canada and the rest are new employees from Calgary.
While the new tenant won’t make a dent in Calgary’s dismal office vacancy rate (20 per cent are sitting empty) the optics of this sparkly brand coming to the city are good.
“It’s a bit of hope,” said Mary Moran, Calgary Economic Development CEO. “So it is not a large population - but as you can see the organization does a lot with just a few people. It is really more the optics of it and the prestige of this organization.”
Calgary Economic Development hopes this will provide inspiration for more moves.
“I think anybody who is watching Calgary and anyone who is watching De Beers in the reasons they made the decision, I think they will take notice of this and will probably look more thoroughly into Calgary,” said Moran.
In addition to cutting costs, the company wanted to be closer to its two mining operations in the Northwest Territories.
While neither is currently operational - the Snap Lake facility closed last year – De Beers is set to open a new $1.2 billion facility later this year. The Gahcho Kué facility will be the biggest mine in the world.
(With file from Brad MacLeod)