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Union Pacific’s chief financial officer to retire; company names successor

A Union Pacific train travels along track. Image: Union Pacific

Union Pacific (NYSE: UNP) will have a new chief financial officer as of next year.

Current CFO Rob Knight announced intentions to retire on December 31, the company said on September 26. 

Jennifer Hamann, who serves as senior vice president for finance, will succeed him and lead all aspects of UP’s financial activities. She will assume the role on January 1, 2020.

“We sincerely thank Rob for his service and contributions to Union Pacific during the course of his career, particularly these past 16 years as CFO,” UP Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz said. “We wish him all the best in his upcoming retirement.”

Knight began working at UP in 1980 and held several leadership positions throughout his tenure there. Institutional Investor named him as the All-America Executive Team’s top CFO in the air freight and surface transportation sector for six consecutive years. Knight also serves on the boards of Grupo Ferroviario Mexicano and TTX.

Hamann joined UP as a corporate auditor in 1992 and has held several leadership positions throughout the years, including in investor relations and in marketing and sales.

“Jennifer’s strong financial knowledge, coupled with her leadership experience in other areas of the business, makes her the best choice as Union Pacific’s next CFO,” Fritz said. “She has an excellent understanding of our markets and Union Pacific’s key business drivers. The board of directors and I are confident of a smooth transition and excited to have her lead our financial initiatives into the future.”

The transition comes as UP is in the process of deploying Unified Plan 2020, its version of precision scheduled railroading. The deployment began in October 2018. UP hopes to reach a 60 percent operating ratio by 2020, with plans to eventually achieve a 55 percent operating ratio. Operating ratio is a gauge that can reflect the financial health of a company, and a lower percentage can indicate a company’s profitability.

The company will announce its third quarter 2019 results on October 17.

Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.