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Union Pacific Railroad this week announced that Jim Vena, chief operating officer, will transition to a new role by year's end. He will be succeeded by Eric Gehringer as executive vice president of operations, effective Jan. 1, 2021.
Vena will remain employed at the company as senior adviser through June 2021. After a long railroad career, he joined UP in January 2019 to lead all aspects of the Class I's operations, including the Unified Plan 2020 implementation.
"Jim's contribution to Union Pacific over the last two years have been tremendous," said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz in a press release. "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."
As senior adviser, Vena will complete the transition of his operating duties to Gehringer and UP's operating team, while also focusing on achieving strategic efficiency plans for 2021 and beyond. He will continue to report to Fritz and participate in board discussions, UP officials said.
Gehringer has served in many capacities during his 15-year career at UP. Starting in engineering, he rose through the ranks to ultimately head the engineering and mechanical department prior to serving his his current role as senior VP of 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 business metrics will serve us well."