Expatica news

Belgian rail head speaks out on reorganisation

26 October 2004

BRUSSELS – Karel Vinck, the new head of Belgian rail operator SNCB, has said that the company should avoid political appointments when choosing individuals to lead the new business units to be created next year.

Beginning 1 January  2005, SNCB is to be divided into three separate branches. More specifically, a holding company to be called SNCB Holding will act as an umbrella for two business branches.

The first, which would keep the SNCB name, would concern itself with operations, while a second unit to be called Infrabel would concern itself with rail infrastructure, in compliance with EU legislation.

“I ask that the nominations of the directors [of the three divisions] be based exclusively on professional competences,” Vinck told Belgian daily Le Soir.

“Nominations based on political criteria will be harmful to the company.”

La Libre Belgique reported that the nominations for the heads of the three divisions are supposed to be made this week.

Luc Lallemand, SNCB’s current chief financial officer and a Socialist, is seen as a favourite to head Infrabel, while Vinck is widely expected to be kept on as the head of SNCB Holding.

Marc Deschemaecker of the VLD party is seen as the favourite to head the other division, though he does not have the support of Johan Vande Lanotte, Belgium’s budget and public enterprise minister.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news