INTERNATIONAL: The current Managing Director of SNCF International, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, has been selected as the first Director-General of Services at the International Union of Railways. The appointment was decided at an assessment meeting in Paris on March 30, ahead of a special meeting of UIC’s General Assembly on March 31.

Under a revision to the organisation’s statutes endorsed in December by the Executive Board and General Assembly, the Director-General of Services will head up UIC’s headquarters team in Paris, replacing Chief Executive Luc Aliadière and Deputy Chief Executive Vipin Sharma. The job title has been selected to reflect a revised role for the headquarters team, focusing on providing services to UIC’s international and regional assemblies, member railways and third parties.

The changes are being implemented following a difficult period for UIC, resulting from differences in interpretation of the statutes adopted in 2007. Disagreements between the European railways, non-European members and some of the permanent staff led to the appointment on April 18 last year of Béatrice Dunogué-Gaffié as Provisional Administrator by the Paris-based Court of First Instance. She was tasked with investigating the organisation’s finances and leading negotiations on further reforms to clarify the UIC’s decision-making structures.

According to the Administrator, the new statues were adopted unanimously by the General Assembly on March 31, with representatives from several of the regional assemblies welcoming a ‘new start’ for the organisation. UIC has elected the Vice-Chairman of East Japan Railway, Yoshio Ishida, as Chairman with effect from April 1. He succeeds K C Jena from Indian Railways, who stepped down in mid-March.

Dunogué-Gaffié has been asked by the General Assembly to implement a few minor amendments to the new statutes, but she expects to start a gradual handover of the administrative functions to Loubinoux as soon as he can be released by SNCF International. Once the transition has been completed, UIC will be able to apply to the court to have the administration lifted.