During a ceremony held at UIC on 21 September, attended by a number of guests from the world of railways, politics, diplomacy and manufacturing, as well as UIC directors and staff, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director-General, received his insignia as Commander of the French National Order of Merit – one of the highest decorations in France along with the Legion of Honour – from Jean-François Bénard, Attorney-General at France’s Court of Audit, who was notably CEO of SNCF from 1992 – 1996, and CEO of Réseau ferré de France (RFF) from 2000 – 2002, before re-joining France’s highest financial court in 2002.
In his speech, Jean-François Bénard traced the main stages of Jean-Pierre Loubinoux’s career, firstly at SNCF in his various functions covering operations, marketing, international freight, SNCF representation in the United Kingdom and in the United States, and later promoting French railway expertise in his role as Chief Executive of SNCF Freight International. He went on to recall that Jean-Pierre Loubinoux had been appointed Director-General of UIC during a particularly difficult time for the international association, and that he had succeeded in relaunching and revitalising the activities of the world railway organisation by establishing efficient, healthy and transparent management and functioning conditions, with an indisputable international dimension. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux is also chairman of the French Association of Rail Engineers (AFFI) which fosters links with similar associations across the world.
In his reply, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux highlighted, among other points, the commitment he had always shown towards international rail, and recalled the main values he attempted to honour in his duties as UIC Director-General: the values of unity, universality and most of all solidarity, which should enable the railways to develop their full potential and advantages for society around the world.