Rail Europe Makes Belhonchet CEO and President
PHOTO: Rail sales organizations are converging in Europe as Rail Europe Inc. and Rail Europe 4A are merging. The TGV continues to roll.
In naming Zine Belhonchet, CEO and President of Rail Europe (RE), the company found a leader with experience inside its IT, financial and strategic gear boxes, which are all core to the growth of what is already the largest distributer of European rail in North America. Rail Europe sells more European rail product in North America than any other entity including rail passes and point to point train tickets. The appointment is the most recent maneuver in a major corporate reshuffling at RE that began in January.
Across his career, Belhonchet has moved steadily through the company, which he joined in 1997 as Controller of the IT Department. In 2004, he rose to Director of Finance and in 2007, he became the Vice President of Finance and Strategic Planning. Since 2008 he has served as Chief Financial Officer. Belhonchet will be operating out of Rail Europe’s White Plains office and will report to CEO Fabrice Morel.
In January RE reshuffled its corporate divisions, forging Rail Europe, Inc. and Rail Europe 4A into a single global business unit, under Morel’s overall leadership from Paris. Selling to both travelers and travel agents, Rail Europe represents more than 50 different train companies across Europe. Rail Europe 4A is the largest distributor of European train tickets and rail passes in Asia, Oceania, South America, Africa and the Middle East.
Belhonchet’s background in IT can only be an asset to a company whose booking apparatus has as much flexibility as RE’s. RE adapts to whoever is booking via a multi-channel approach that includes email, chat, website and or interaction by telephone with an incredible travel and train savvy staff of sales agents.
RE is owned by the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and VSC Group, the distribution subsidiary of the French National Railways (SNCF). January’s consolidation of Rail Europe, Inc. and Rail Europe 4A gave RE the ability to operate more widely around the world with offices in Paris, White Plains, Rosemont (Chicago) and Mumbai with a global staff exceeding 300 that are available now 24 hours a day and seven days a week covering the Americas, Middle East, Africa, Oceania, and Asia.
A 2015 Travvy Award Winner as the Best Rail Travel Company, our travel agent readers chose RE based on its one stop shop for planning and booking European rail travel. Last year, REG’s bestselling destinations in North America were France, Italy and the United Kingdom. The company also saw major growth between Paris and Barcelona of 86 percent last summer thanks to the new direct six-hour TGV link between the two cities. Italian sales saw a 35 percent increase in 2014.
Belhonchet will assume his new position on Aug. 1.
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