Marc Descheemaecker Speaker

Marc Descheemaecker

Chairman of Brussels airport board of directors, an expert in bringing failing transport organisations to success

Marc Descheemaecker: Biography highlights

Turned around the success of SNCB, modernising their fleet of trains and increasing their passengers by 60% whilst reducing the workforce by nearly 20%.

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Business Leaders

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Full biography of Marc Descheemaecker

Marc Descheemaecker’s background

Since 2013, Marc Descheemaecker has been the chairman of the Brussels Airport Board of Directors and became the chairman of De Lijn’s (National Public Transport Company) Board of Directors at the end of 2014. Prior to this, he was the CEO of the NMBS (National Society of Belgian Railways).

Descheemaecker began his career at the management consultancy firm McKinsey in Amsterdam, before moving on to Black and Decker in Germany, the Vendex Group and ISS in Copenhagen. In 2002, he was appointed Managing Director of the SNCB freight division before going on to be appointed CEO of SNCB in 2005.

At SNCB, Descheemaecker modernised the obsolete train fleet, creating a 60% increase in passengers yet reducing the workforce by almost 20%. He later went on to turn around the lossmaking Belgian activities of SNCB of both Thalys and Eurostar into a profitable shareholding in the newly established Thalys and Eurostar Ltd company. The SNCB freight division became a separate entity in 2010 and was partly sold to a financial partner in 2014.

Descheemaecker was appointed the chairman of the Brussels Airport Company board and he was also appointed the chairman of the board of directors at De Lijn, the national bus and tram public transport operator. He is also a board member at Ethias, a Belgian insurance company, GIMV, a listed portfolio company, and HRD. The Belgian government appointed Descheemaecker director of EIB, the European Investment Bank where his peers at EIB nominated him as director of the European Investment Fund.

Descheemaecker is recognised as a proven change manager and a renowned authority on structural mobility operational and investment issues.

After the terror attacks on Brussels airport, Descheemaecker took a public stand on racism with “Employers against racism” which brought him widespread respect.

Marc Descheemaecker’s current and past positions

  • Chairman of the boards of BAC, Brussels Airport Company and of De Lijn, public transport company (since 2013)
    CEO, NMBS-SNCB national railroad company, Belgium (2004 – 2013)
  • Managing Director freight division, NMBS-SNCB national railroad company, Belgium (2002 – 2004)
  • Executive Vice President, ISS group, Copenhagen, Denmark (2000 – 2002)
  • Managing Director, ISS Belgium-Luxembourg, Belgium (1998 – 2000)
  • Managing Director, Cemstobel-Abilis cleaning and facility management, Brussels, Belgium (1996 – 1998)
  • Managing director, Lederland, Brussels, Belgium (1991 – 1996)
  • General Manager marketing & sales, Prado-Nelca, Kuurne, Belgium (1991 – 1996)
  • Marketing Manager Germany, Black&Decker, Idstein, Germany (1982 – 1986)
  • European Marketing Officer, European HQ, Black&Decker, Brussels (1980 – 1982)
  • Business Analyst, Mc Kinsey, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (1978 – 1980)


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Marc Descheemaecker at the Ersnt & Young Innovation summit
Marc Descheemaecker at the Ersnt & Young Innovation summit

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