Information published on 9 May 2017 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 547.

Belgium: Appointment of Ulrich Bouly as Chief Operations Officer and Bruno Dierickx as Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer

From telecoms to the international rail business, Thalys brings on board a blend of cultures and expertise

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At Thalys, 2017 continues to be a year of change, as CEO Agnès Ogier announces the appointment of Ulrich Bouly as Chief Operations Officer and Bruno Dierickx as Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer.

New appointments marry agility and operational excellence
From his previous base in Antwerp, Ulrich Bouly led the development of Captrain Belgium, the international door-to-door freight carrier and logistics provider, thus garnering expertise in international rail transport which will stand in him good stead as he takes over operations at Thalys.

For his part, new head of marketing & commercial Bruno Dierickx is a Belgian telecoms and digital expert who led transformation at Proximus-Belgacom.
The two will join an intercultural Brussels-based management team which champions decompartmentalised management in building the Thalys of tomorrow.

“In Ulrich Bouly, we are bringing on board not only a specialist in international rail operations, but also an expert in leading strategic transformation projects. Together, we are building the Thalys of tomorrow around values of agility and responsiveness, including in the field of operations.”

“Bruno Dierickx will help us rethink Thalys for a more mobile, diverse world, one in which the critical time horizon is no longer 10 years but merely a few months and in which listening carefully to our customers in each of our markets is the golden rule.”

(Thalys CEO Agnès Ogier)

Ulrich Bouly, Chief Operations Officer

“We intend to take the agility and analytical capabilities our teams show every day in operations and deploy them as fully as possible, both in leading strategic projects and tailoring our transport offering to customer wishes.”

As an expert in international railway operations, Ulrich Bouly is already familiar with “Thalysland”. After forming part of the Metz-based team in charge of preparing for the launch of the TGV Est from 2003-2006, he spent the next 10 years developing freight services between northern and eastern France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg. From 2010 he was international Head of Production and Engineering within Fret SNCF’s coal & steel division, and from 2014 also took over as CEO and steadied the ship at Captrain Belgium.

He holds an engineering degree from the Ecole Centrale in Lille and joined SNCF in 1997. A multi-talented operations specialist, he combines a keen interest in new styles of management with a strongly results-focused approach to business. With these three factors in mind, he champions a holistic approach and considers innovation and quality the keys to success in a competitive environment. He became involved in running the first interoperable freight trains as of 2001, whilst in Lille he led the first ISO 9001 certification for freight. Later, at Captrain Belgium, he boosted customer satisfaction by 20%.
Now heading up operations at Thalys, Ulrich Bouly will oversee strategic renewal projects and a review of the design process for the firm’s transport offering. The job is both technical and organisational in nature, but the watchword remains operational excellence.

Ulrich hails from the north of France and is a fervent supporter of Franco-Belgian relations. He is 44 years old and has three children.

Bruno Dierickx, Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer

“Every day, we connect thousands of international business and leisure travellers that we can and must use the digital revolution to serve better. Our challenge is to be both a mode of transport open to all whilst keeping the personal touch, all against a backdrop of an ever-changing world.”

As a digital marketing expert, Bruno Dierickx sees the big picture and brings with him the accumulated experience of two decades of radical transformation in the telecoms industry. Whether it be market opening, convergence between landlines and mobiles, new habits, changing expectations on the part of customers and citizens, or simply the ever-faster rate at which things move, Bruno Dierickx and Agnès Ogier - who also has an ICT background - share a culture of thinking about change as a way of building bridges between different industries, specifically between the manufacturing and service industries.

Having trained first as an electrical engineer before attending the Solvay business school, Bruno Dierickx started off in a commercial role at Belgacom in 1995, where he managed a series of marketing challenges, from residential to corporate and from pricing through to after-sales, before becoming head of strategy and digital transformation at Proximus in 2012. He sets great store by optimum value management and a tailored customer experience, both goals whose achievement is now facilitated by digital technology. Bruno now brings his cross-functional expertise in customer service and end-to-end relationship marketing to Thalys.

Bruno is Belgian and 44 years old, with two children.

(Source: Thalys)