UP: Vena, PSR Veteran, Moving to Advisory Role, Gehringer New EVP-Operations

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
UP's Eric Gehringer (right) will succeed Jim Vena and lead the railroad's Operating functions, effective Jan. 1.

UP's Eric Gehringer (right) will succeed Jim Vena and lead the railroad's Operating functions, effective Jan. 1.

After two years as Union Pacific’s (UP) Chief Operating Officer, Jim Vena will become a Senior Advisor at the end of the year. Eric Gehringer is succeeding him and will become Executive Vice President-Operations on Jan. 1.

Vena joined UP in January 2019, coming out of retirement to lead operations and the implementation of Unified Plan 2020, the railroad’s version of Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR). He spent 40 years at CN before retiring in June 2016 as Executive Vice President and COO.

Vena has “helped our team achieve efficiency savings of over $1 billion and deliver the best service product in the company’s history,” said UP Chairman, President and CEO Lance Fritz.

Gehringer is a 15-year veteran of UP, serving most recently as Senior Vice President-Transportation. He started in Engineering, and ultimately headed up the Engineering and Mechanical department. In his new role, Gehringer will lead the railroad’s Operating functions.

“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.”

Said Vena: “I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to drive change over the past two years at Union Pacific. We made terrific progress toward being the safest, most reliable and most efficient railroad in North America, and I am very proud of our accomplishments. The team has been great to work with, and I am confident Eric is well positioned to drive further gains in 2021 and beyond.”

Listen to Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono’s interview earlier this year with Vena, who discusses Unified Plan 2020 and how it’s changing and improving the way UP serves its customers.

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