Union Pacific Corp. today announced that Jim Vena will become CEO, Beth Whited will become president and Mike McCarthy will become chairman of the company effective Aug. 14. They will succeed current Chairman, CEO and President Lance Fritz, who announced earlier this year that he would step down this year.
As part of the transition, the company’s operations, finance, marketing and sales, supply chain and technology functions will report directly to Vena. He has more than 40 years of industry experience and is returning to UP after serving as its chief operating officer from 2019 to 2020 and as a senior adviser to the chairman in 2021.
Vena’s professional background also includes a 40-plus year career with CN.
“One of the most vital characteristics we considered as we conducted the search to identify the next CEO was extensive railroad operating experience,” said McCarthy in a press release. “Jim has that and more. After a comprehensive search process, the board unanimously determined that his track record of operating excellence was unparalleled, and he is the right candidate for the job.”
Whited, who has been with UP for 35 years and held leadership roles across several departments, is the first woman to serve as the railroad’s president. Since 2022, she’s been the company’s executive vice president of sustainability and strategy, as well as chief human resources officer. As president, her responsibilities will include strategy, workforce resources, sustainability, law, corporate relations and government affairs functions.
“Beth has been key to Union Pacific’s transformation over many years across numerous functions. Her award-winning work driving sustainability and workforce development helped the company advance its culture and distinguish itself from peers,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy is now an independent director on the board. In addition to his and the executive leadership changes, UP announced today that Doyle Simons and John Wiehoff have been appointed to the board effective immediately. Simons is former president and CEO of the Weyerhaeuser Co.; Wiehoff is former chairman, president and CEO of C.H. Robinson.