Jim Vena

CEO at Union Pacific Railroad

A railroader, Union Pacific CEO Jim Vena has more than 40 years of industry experience with a demonstrated track record of driving best-in-class operating and service results. His vision for the railroad is clear: Safety, Service and Operational Excellence will equal Growth.

Vena’s four decades of railroading bring unparalleled experience across operational management, marketing and project execution. He’s led through transformational times for the entire railroad industry.

As Union Pacific chief operating officer from 2019-2020, Vena oversaw a team that achieved efficiency savings and delivered the best service product in the company’s history. He served as senior advisor to the chairman in 2021 and returned to Union Pacific as CEO in August 2023. Prior to Union Pacific, Vena worked at Canadian National Railway (CN) where he added to his knowledge by working with great leaders.

Vena knows railroading firsthand, beginning his career as a CN laborer in maintenance of way, then a brakeman, conductor, locomotive engineer, trainmaster and superintendent. He progressively held roles of increasing responsibility, including senior management positions in Operations, Marketing and Sales spanning CN’s east, west and southern regions across the U.S. At CN, Vena was ultimately promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer.

He has experience as a board member and served on the Board of Directors as chair of the Audit Committee for DCLI (Direct ChassisLink, Inc.), a privately held company. He also served on the FedEx Board of Directors’ Audit, Finance and Governance, Safety and Public Policy committees.

Vena received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alberta and a post-graduate Business degree from Athabasca University. He and his wife, Karen, have a great family with sons Michael and Joseph.



  • CEO

    Current role