UKRAINIAN Railways (UZ) has appointed Mr Yevhen Lyaschenko as CEO, with the appointment approved by the Ukraine Cabinet of Ministers.

Liashchenko replaces Mr Alexander Kamyshin, who announced his resignation last month to take up a position leading the new Office of European Integration of Ukrainian Railways in Europe. Liashchenko was appointed as a member of the management board of UZ responsible for finance in October 2019.

Liashchenko graduated from Kharkiv State University with a degree in Economic Cybernetics. Prior to his appointment at UZ, he was director of Media Group Ukraine and later an advisor on strategy and transformation at Starlight Media. Liashchenko also served an advisor to vice prime minister for reconstruction of Ukraine, minister of communities, territories and infrastructure, Mr Alexander Kubrakov.

Liashchenko began his career as management consultant at Commerzbank Consortium; regional sales manager at Coca-Cola; consultant at TNK-BP; CFO at Slobozhanska Stroitelna Ceramika, London & Regional Properties, Corum Group; and CFO and executive director of Papastratos Ukraine.

“Over the past year, during the full-scale Russian invasion, a number of revolutionary changes have been introduced at UZ with the direct participation of Yevhen Liashchenko,” Kubrakov says. “First of all, it is the transition to direct contacts with energy producers: oil products, electricity, and gas. These decisions have saved the state billions of hryvnias. Another important achievement was the rescheduling of payments on two Eurobond issues totalling $US 895m.

“In particular, these and several other management decisions have helped to maintain the financial stability of UZ over the past two years. In practical terms, this means supporting the defence capability and economy of a country at war. Last but not least, it means stable payment of salaries to railroad employees.”

Kubrakov says Liashchenko has three key tasks as head of UZ.

The first is to continue the reform of UZ, developing separate business verticals for the passenger, freight, production and infrastructure sectors in line with European legislation.

The second is the implementation of an investment programme, including the development of export routes and electrification of the network.

The third is ensuring the company breaks even, following the Action Plan that has already been approved.

“I am grateful to Kubrakov and the supervisory board for their trust,” Liashchenko says. “Together with the supervisory board, we are already working on updating the development strategy of UZ in order to accelerate the company's reform programme in view of new challenges.

“And the goal remains the same - to allocate independent business verticals based on the best international practices to ensure maximum transparency and operational efficiency of the company. In 2022, the company ended with a loss of Hryvnias 10.8bn ($US 292.4m), and in 2023 it was forecast to lose Hryvnias 20.2bn. Reaching breakeven through the implementation of a set of measures on procurement transparency and resource efficiency is a key priority.”

Liashchenko says UZ has set a high bar for itself in terms of implementing an investment programme aimed at not only supporting the existing operation of the network, but also largely restoring and developing Ukraine's export potential.

“The budget of the investment projects we plan to implement, thanks to international financial assistance, will be at least $US 400m,” he says. “And the issue is not only access to financial resources, but we are also radically changing UZ's internal processes to ensure the effective implementation of the investment programme.

“We also aim to improve the quality of service for our passengers and business customers. In addition, as a socially responsible company, we aim to retain our team as much as possible and ensure the stability and sustainable development of social programmes to protect and support railway employees and their families. This area will also include a programme for our veterans who are currently defending our country. UZ will continue to make every effort to bring Ukraine's victory closer.”