GIA (Gemological institute of America) – specialist in gemological research, education and science-based gem identification and grading – has added a new vice president of business development.

Richard Pesqueira, a 30-year industry veteran, joined the Institute as vice president of business development for North America.

He is based at GIA’s global headquarters in Carlsbad, CA, reporting to Mark Buntz, GIA senior vice president and chief marketing officer (CMO).

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Anna Martin, GIA senior vice president of business development and beneficiation, will shift her focus to long-term strategic projects at GIA.

As part of that evolution, the global business development functions will integrate under CMO Mark Buntz.

The North America and Asia-Pacific business development teams will report to Buntz in a new function that will also support the market development teams of GIA India.

“Richard’s talent and experience are a tremendous addition to GIA, helping us connect even more meaningfully with our industry stakeholders as we work every day to protect consumers and ensure their trust in gems and jewellery,” said Buntz.

“As GIA advances our work with retailers to address consumer demands for more information on the sustainability, traceability and positive impacts of the gems they buy, building out our team with Richard’s skills and insight is a major step forward.”

A GIA graduate gemmologist, Pesqueira joined the Institute from Tiffany & Co, where he was most recently the director for the company’s high-profile Las Vegas market.

Previously, as Tiffany’s global director of education, he was responsible for all retail product training.

He was vice president of sales and business development for five years at Hearts on Fire, including managing key aspects of the Hearts on Fire/Chow Tai Fook integration.

He started his career at Rogers Jewelry, a family-owned, 10-store chain in California.

“With its vast retailer and alumni networks, and the trust of both the trade and the public, GIA is leading the transformation that will keep the gem and jewellery industry relevant and successful, today and well into the future,” said Pesqueira.

“I am excited to be part of GIA’s important consumer protection mission, bringing products and services to retailers that benefit their customers and their businesses.”

The GIA business development teams work with clients, retailers and others, primarily in the top three jewellery markets – India, China and the United States.

With experienced and knowledgeable local leadership, they support GIA’s consumer protection efforts by working with the trade to better meet their needs with GIA products and services.