UP selects Vena as COO

Written by Kyra Senese, managing editor
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Union Pacific

Union Pacific (UP) has named Jim Vena as the Class 1’s new chief operating officer, effective Jan. 14.

Vena served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at Canadian National (CN) until he retired from the railroad in June of 2016 following a four-decade career at CN, according to a Jan. 7 statement.

Vena is set to lead all aspects of UP’s operations, including the implementation of Unified Plan 2020, the railroad’s operating plan that recently launched in October of 2018.

Vena will report to Lance Fritz, UP’s chairman, president and CEO.

“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.”

Throughout Vena’s tenure as executive vice president and chief operating officer at CN, officials said CN observed the North American rail industry’s best operating ratio and reached the best safety incident ratio in the company’s history.

Vena began his railroad career as a brakeman, gaining increasing responsibilities in CN’s operations as well as marketing and sales groups, including leading all of CN’s operating regions.

Lynden Tennison, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, and Tom Lischer, UP’s executive vice president – Operations, will report to Vena in his new role.

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