Union Pacific stock (NYSE:UNP) is up more than 8% on Tuesday as the company announced the hiring of a new chief operating officer to its fold.
The railroad company — which was created in 1969 and is based out of Omaha, Nebraska — saw its stock increase the most it has since 2009 as it hired 60-year-old Jim Vena to become its new COO. Vena, who is a protege of railroading giant Hunter Harrison, will take over in the role on Jan. 14 with the goal of helping the company become more efficient in its operations.
The new Union Pacific COO will be in charge of the company’s goals to shift towards precision scheduled railroading, which Harrison pioneered and brought to Union Pacific late in 2018. Vena’s return to the railroading world follows his June 2016 retirement from Canadian National Railway (NYSE:CNI) after a 40-year stint with the company.
Vena has plenty of experience with precision scheduled railroading, working within the discipline for more than two decades. He also has north of a decade working alongside Harrison. The goal of the precision scheduled railroading shift is to help improve profits, which it has already done so at four major railroads, including Canadian National.
“This marks yet another milestone in the PSR [precision scheduled railroading] chronicles at UNP, and puts the company one step closer to full network implementation by mid-2019 — which is now clearly visible,” Credit Suisse analyst Allison Landry said in a note Monday. “We think execution risk is diminished.”
UNP stock is up about 8.8% on Tuesday following the news.