Information published on 9 April 2009 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 139.

Newly appointed Director General sets a new course of action for UIC

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux presents headquarters staff main challenges and new strategic orientations for UIC activities

  • Gouvernance

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux who was unanimously appointed new Director General of UIC at the General Assembly on 31st March, immediately took over his new function at the head of UIC management, succeeding Luc Aliadière. He also decided to meet at the earliest with UIC headquarters staff, in order to introduce himself, present and comment member railways’ decisions adopted at the last General Assembly, and present the strategic lines for his own action as the UIC Director General in the next period.

The general meeting with all UIC staff members took place on 6th April at Paris headquarters of the association.

Here are large ‘extracts’ of his address.

“I am perfectly aware of the importance of the first contacts and the first exchanges, therefore I have wished to get in touch with you as rapidly as possible.

For this first meeting, I would like to introduce myself, and to discuss and exchange with you on my ideas about UIC future development and, most important, to create a climate of trust, conviviality and sincerity.

You already received information on my person and activities through press releases and other working documents, but beside these professional sources, I wish to inform you on the reasons why I accepted to apply for the responsibility of the Director General of UIC.

There are four reasons:

- Firstly, I have been involved for 10 years in the UIC “business”, through my participation to the Executive Board and General Assembly meetings, as I assisted, or represented SNCF Presidents Louis Gallois, Anne-Marie Idrac and then Guillaume Pepy. This is how I got to like this association.

- Secondly, I have a long and diversified experience of the railway and transport jobs in different dimensions including operations, marketing and engineering, in different fields as Freight, Passengers and Infrastructure.

- Thirdly, for 25 years, I have acquired experience and developed an international network, both economic and institutional, in the railway community, on 4 continents,

- finally, I have always been strongly involved in the world of associations, for example as the chairman of AFFI (French association of railway engineers and managers), member of the Chartered Institute of Transport, chairman of the Transport Committee in the Foreign Trade Council, chairman of the Argentina committee in MEDEF International, the French confederation of Employers, or vice chairman of the Ecole Centrale association.

I was actually convinced that both my personal and professional background, along with my strong motivation, can bring an added value to UIC, which has just gone through a difficult time. This is actually a fifth reason for my involvement: I like challenges!

UIC may have faced troubles in the recent period, but now is also a great time for the development of railways across the world. Paradoxically, the current economic crisis could be a chance for us and it is essential that UIC continues to play a key role, as it has always done since 1922.

UIC underwent a crisis of unity and yet all its members consider unity in the association as a high priority.

UIC underwent a crisis of governance and it had become urgent to terminate this crisis because of its potential huge damages in terms of trust between our Members, and in terms of credibility among the railway community and transport industry, and in terms of motivation of all people involved in UIC business, that means yourself !

The extraordinary general assembly of the 31st March was crucial. The outcome could have been terrible for UIC (with a division among members and no common statutes adopted) but the will and wisdom of the Members, as well as the excellent and highly sensitive work of Béatrice Dunogué-Gaffié, the UIC Provisional Administrator whom we have to thank, enabled to restore essential elements, that is:

- UIC is unique and has a worldwide mission
- UIC is a professional organisation which has to be recognised and efficient,
- UIC is an organisation serving its Members, promoting cooperation and solidarity among them,
- UIC adopts news statutes creating a better balance –role and power- between Executive Board and General Assembly,
- UIC appoints a unique General Director, as the sole responsible of the management and development of UIC since 31st March,
- UIC will appoint, on my proposal, the Regional Directors.

We have now won back a strategic course. We have won back our rights, we also need to fulfill our duties.

My own duty consists in defining a new management framework, which I want clear, strict and transparent; as well as a good, if not better, level of professionalism.

This can be done in my opinion on three levels of management:
- on a strategic level, between the Director General and the Regional Directors in identifying their needs and defining together a strategic vision,
- on a professional level, between the General Director and the Technical Department Directors. This is the core of the UIC role: to enable the working groups to achieve their goals in time, with the requested quantity and quality, and to anticipate the creation of new working groups to prepare for the future (a permanent update of the ‘business portfolio’),
- on a managerial level, between the Director General and the Directors of Support Services, with the objective of managing UIC on an efficient and transparent basis.

Efficiency means reactivity, productivity and optimisation of our resources. We are living in a world facing a crisis and we have to develop our action whilst at least maintaining or even reducing the level of our members’ fees.

Transparency means clear and audited accounts. It also means the quick finalisation of the analytic accounting tools to know who pays and for what.

All that should happen in a context in which we will all refer to common values, with above all that Unity and Universality. We need to come back to a spirit of team work. Any attempt of division will not be accepted.

We will develop regular contacts, both professional and institutional, with our members and the various ‘UIC Regions’, it is absolutely necessary. An association can only live “through its members and for its members”.

This requires the consolidation of a strong image of UIC which should become the driving force for the worldwide rail development in the developed countries as well as in the developing ones.

The first contacts and exchanges I have had with you confirm my feelings and my ideas. I can feel energy and determination to move forward as well as understanding. I would like to capitalise on this positive basis to rebuild together UIC, with a strong work around the Regions, the Technical departments and the Service departments.

I am asking you all to think about all this together with me, according to three main approaches:
- How can we win back the trust of our members and gain new members ? I have asked Paul Véron to coordinate this working group,
- How can we simplify our structures and procedures to make UIC an efficient cooperation and working too? Coordinator will be Jean-Pierre Lehman,
- How can we optimise our financial approach and resources? Coordination is ensured by Marie-Eve Lim.

These three working groups should come up with 7 main proposals each to be delivered by 24th April. This is for me the 3 most important priorities to put UIC on the track of success in the international railway community.They will be implemented quickly and I am planning to organise a seminar following our general assembly on 16 June.

I thank you for your cooperation and now, to sum up my message,”back to work in harmony!”.