Former Head of SNCB to Join Eurostar Board
19 May 2005
Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service that links the UK, France and Belgium, today announced that Karel Vinck - the former Chief Executive of Belgian Railways, SNCB and President of the global specialty chemicals group Umicore - would join the Eurostar Board as a non-Executive Director with immediate effect.
Mr. Vinck, aged 66, who has over 30 years' experience of working in global industries, led SNCB between 2002 and 2005 and contributed enormously to the regeneration of the company and an increase in passenger numbers. He was also Vice-President of the UIC (International Union of Railways) from 2003 to 2004 and acting Chairman of the CER (Community of European Railways).
Karel Vinck also holds non-Executive Director positions at Suez-Tractebel, at the University of Leuven in Belgium and the Philharmonic Society of Brussels.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Vinck said: "I look forward to contributing to Eurostar's ongoing success. The business has been transformed in recent times and is now one of the leading short-haul carriers in Europe. I am confident it will continue to have a very bright future."
Richard Brown, the Chief Executive of Eurostar, added: "We are delighted that someone of Karel Vinck's stature is joining the Board as a non-Executive Director. He will add enormous value to our team, based on his experience at SNCB and in several successful global operations."
Mr. Vinck's career began at the Etex Group (formerly Eternit), a world leader in building materials, in 1971. He quickly became Managing Director of the Italian subsidiary and was promoted to Managing Director of Eternit in 1978. In 1985, Mr. Vinck was appointed Chief Executive of the Belgian metal products company, Bekaert, which supplies over 120 countries. During his tenure, group market share and profitability increased.
Nearly a decade later, he joined Umicore - which is quoted on Euronext - as Chief Executive and, in 2000, he became Chairman. During his career, Mr. Vinck has overseen several successful company restructurings.
In addition to Mr. Vinck's appointment, Patrick Michelin, aged 49, will also be joining the Eurostar Board at the same time as a non-Executive Director. Mr. Michelin is Deputy Director of VFE, a subsidiary of the French Railway, SNCF. He has substantial railway experience, having spent 20 years in various roles within SNCF.
Eurostar saw record results during 2004. 7.27 million travellers used Eurostar, up 15% on 2003. Expected sales in 2004 were £433 million, up 15% on the year before (£376 million).