Bloomberg’s headline read: “Union Pacific Soars Most Since 2009 as COO Hiring Dazzles Street.” U.S. News & World Report called Vena a “turnaround expert.”
Vena, who had served as CN’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, retired in June 2016. Union Pacific’s announcement Monday included Vena’s age: 60.
Union Pacific said Vena will lead all aspects of its operations, including implementation of Unified Plan 2020, which the company launched in October. He will report to Lance Fritz, Union Pacific chairman, president and chief executive officer.
Vena worked for the late Hunter Harrison, who pioneered precision scheduled railroading and used the strategy while at the helm of CN.
Union Pacific said that during Vena’s tenure as executive vice president and COO, CN 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 CN’s operations as well as marketing and sales groups. He was promoted to executive vice president and COO in 2013. He retired as part of a management reorganization following the resignation of Claude Mongeau as president and CEO.