Fresh team at helm of railways

29th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

29 October 2004, BRUSSELS – The government has picked a new management team charged with overhauling the cash-strapped Belgian railways.

29 October 2004

BRUSSELS – The government has picked a new management team charged with overhauling the cash-strapped Belgian railways.

SNCB, which is in debt to the tune of EUR 300 million, is to be restructured from January of next year.

On Friday, it was announced the old SNCB board would be divided into three separate organisations: SNCB-holding, which would head up Infrabel – responsible for managing rail infrastructure – and the transport section which would be the New SNCB.

Luc Lallemand, a member of the francophone socialist party, the current financial director of SNCB, is to head Infrabel. Marc Descheemaecker will head up New SNCB.

Karel Vinck, current head of SNCB, has resigned, but will stay in post for the next three months to help with the changeover.

Most of the board of directors are to continue at SNCB, with the exception of president Alain Deneef and Monique Van Den Bulcke. The new president is to be Dominique Offergeld, who used to work closely with Belgium’s current commissioner Louis Michel.

The former Justice Minister Melchior Wathelet (CDH) is to join the board, along with Jean-Claude Fontinoy (MR), an adviser to minister Didier Reynders.

Vinck said he was confident the team at the head of the new structures would do a good job. "I am convinced that they will carry out the programme of overhauling the SNCB," he said. "I will use the three months I have left to ensure a smooth transition."

Some politicians, however, are disappointed Vinck is to go. The centre right party, the CDH, said he was a competent manager who "had the ability to rise above political games". And the former minister of transport, Isabelle Durant (Ecolo), said his early departure "isn’t a good sign".

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news

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