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Union Pacific appoints new Chief Operating Officer

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Union Pacific today named Jim Vena chief operating officer, effective Jan. 14. He served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at Canadian National (CN) until retiring in June 2016 after a 40-year CN career.

Vena, 60, will lead all aspects of Union Pacific’s operations, including Unified Plan 2020 implementation, the company’s new operating plan that launched in October 2018. He will report to Lance Fritz, Union Pacific chairman, president and chief executive officer.

“Unified Plan 2020 combines precision scheduled railroading principles with our own UP Way tools and best practices,” Fritz said. “We have been making excellent strides rolling out Unified Plan 2020, and Jim’s vast knowledge of the precision scheduled railroading model brings significant experience and expertise that will enhance the work already underway.”

During Vena’s tenure as executive vice president and chief operating officer, Canadian National generated the North American rail industry’s best operating ratio and achieved the best safety incident ratio in the company’s history. Vena started his railroad career as a brakeman and held progressively increasing responsibilities in Canadian National’s operations as well as marketing and sales groups, including leading all of CN’s operating regions.

Tom Lischer, Union Pacific’s executive vice president – Operations, and Lynden Tennison, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, will report to Vena.