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Bernard Gustin appointed as independent Director and new Executive Chairman of Lineas

03 February 2022



  • Lineas announces structural changes to its Board of Directors to strengthen the leadership of the group in order to accelerate the transformation plan and improve its performance. This is needed since Covid-19 and other structural economic challenges have impacted the results of the group.
  • Structural changes within the Board of Directors that have been approved are:
    • The Lineas General Assembly reinforces its Board of Directors and appoints Bernard Gustin as new independent director, who has been elected Executive Chairman by the Board of Directors;
    • Gilles Mougenot takes on the responsibility of Vice-chairman and Chairman of the to be set up Nomination Committee;
    • Geert Pauwels steps down as director and CEO.
    • Bernard Gustin will steer the Lineas Management team that will collectively take the responsibility for the group's day to day management
  • As Executive Chairman, Bernard Gustin will focus on three main areas:

(1) support the Executive Committee in executing and accelerating the ongoing transformation that will enable Lineas to recover its pre-Corona performance as soon as possible,

(2) develop a strategy that allows Lineas to improve its relevance as Europe’s largest private rail freight operator and a strategic actor for Europe’s Green Deal and the rail freight liberalization, and

(3) recommend an adapted financing strategy to allow Lineas to reach its ambitious economic and societal objectives in addition to the structural refinancing projects implemented in 2021.

Lineas is the largest private rail freight operator in Europe offering premium rail products and total door-to-door logistics solutions in Europe. Lineas’ vision and mission is to realize the modal shift in Europe as a key element to reach Europe’s “Fit for 55” Climate ambitions. Lineas will hence continue with the further development of superior rail solutions at European level aiming at becoming a true pan-European player, focusing on increasing its foothold in Europe and developing a superior customer service. After a difficult 2020 and 2021 due to a combination of the Corona pandemic, the heavily distorted supply chains, the July flooding, as well as the important infrastructure problems in Europe, Lineas will further accelerate its transformation plan to restore its financial results to pre-Corona levels. At the same time, Lineas will continue investing in further digitalization initiatives to improve operational performance and customer experience.

In the context of these multiple challenges, and to accelerate the transformation process, Lineas’ Board of Directors decided to make some structural changes to the leadership of the group. Bernard Gustin is appointed as an independent director and becomes Executive Chairman of Lineas. Bernard Gustin is a highly experienced and widely recognized executive with an extensive track record at Chairman and CEO-levels in industrial transformations. His network in Belgium and Europe will be important to federate industry and other stakeholders around a concrete modal shift. He will keep his other mandates as chair or board member.

Gilles Mougenot, as representative of Lineas’ majority shareholder, will take on the responsibility of Vice-chairman of the Board as well as Chairman of the Nomination Committee. “We are happy to welcome Bernard as new Executive Charmain and to benefit from his extensive experience as well as his great expertise in mobility”.

The Board of Directors wants to thank Geert Pauwels for his contribution as CEO of the Company over the last 12 years. Geert successfully restructured the heavily loss-making SNCB division and then transformed it to become Europe’s largest private rail freight company with a clear purpose for modal shift.

With these important changes, Lineas will take on the necessary steps to set the group on the right track for a promising future. Private rail freight operators are a key element in reaching Europe’s ambitions to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050.