Union Pacific COO Vena to become senior advisor; Gehringer to lead operations

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Jim Vena
Union Pacific
Eric Gehringer
Union Pacific

OMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific Chief Operating Officer Jim Vena will move to a role as senior advisor as of Jan. 1, 2021, with Eric Gehringer succeeding Vena as executive vice president-operations.

Vena, 62, joined Union Pacific in January 2019, overseeing all aspects of operations including the railroad’s transition to its version of precision scheduled railroading, Unified Plan 2020. The announcement of UP’s hiring of the former Canadian National executive led to an 8.7% jump in Union Pacific’s stock price in the 24 hours after his hiring was announced [see “Jim Vena: Union Pacific’s $9 billion man,” Trains News Wire, Jan. 9, 2019]

“Jim's contributions to Union Pacific over the last two years have been tremendous,” UP CEO Lance Fritz said in a press release announcing the move. “He helped our team achieve efficiency savings of over $1 billion and deliver the best service product in the company's history. Jim's time at the helm of our Operations has positioned Union Pacific well for 2021 and beyond.”

Vena’s move to the senior advisor role will see him helping the transition for Gehringer, a 15-year UP veteran, and the operating team. Gehringer began with the railroad in engineering and eventually headed the engineering and mechanical department before assuming his current role as senior vice president-transportation.

“Throughout his career, Eric has used innovation and astute business acumen to solve problems on the railroad,” Fritz said. “His proven ability to build teams and get results across all business metrics will serve us well.”




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