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Union Pacific Corp.'s board yesterday elected Lance Fritz president and chief executive officer, effective immediately. Fritz, 52, succeeds Jack Koraleski, who now will serve as executive chairman.UP's president and chief operating officer since February 2014, Fritz also was elected to serve on the board. He previously was executive vice president of operations from 2010 to 2014. Fritz began his UP career in 2000 as vice president and general manager of energy, and later served stints as regional vice president of the Northern Region, then the Southern Region, and vice president of labor relations."Lance has the right combination of leadership skills, experience and expertise required to lead one of America's largest and most successful companies," said Steven Rogel, UP's lead independent director, in a press release.Prior to joining UP, Fritz held various posts at Fiskars Inc., Cooper Industries and General Electric. He serves on a number of industry boards and committees, and is chairman of the United Way of the Midlands."I am humbled and privileged to have the opportunity to lead Union Pacific," Fritz said. "Our experienced leadership team is unparalleled and will continue to play a key role in shaping Union Pacific's strategy. They join me in sharing all of our employees' passion for our mission to serve customers, shareholders and communities."Koraleski, 64, was appointed president and CEO in March 2012. An Omaha native, he was elected to the board in July 2012 and became chairman in March 2014. He joined the railroad in 1972."Jack's leadership helped guide Union Pacific to unprecedented financial performance, with 12 consecutive quarters of record earnings results," said Rogel. "More importantly, Jack steered Union Pacific through an unexpected and challenging leadership transition period. We are incredibly grateful for his energy, efforts and dedication."UP's board also approved the 2015 capital spending program of approximately $4.3 billion, up about $200 million compared with the 2014 budget. The increase primarily is driven by equipment acquisitions and infrastructure investments. Positive train control spending is expected to increase from $385 million in 2014 to $450 million in 2015.
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