Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE: UNP), on Monday, confirmed that Lance Fritz will step down as its Chief Executive later this year. Shares climbed 10% this morning.
The railroad holding company has already put in place a task force that’s working with an outside consultant to search for a suitable candidate who will replace Fritz.
In its statement today, Union Pacific also revealed that it’s open to looking for a successor not just within the rail industry but outside of it as well. The stock market news arrives shortly after Soroban Capital Partners cited “underperformance” and pushed for new leadership at UNP.
The hedge fund wants Jim Vena (the company’s former COO) to take over that, it added, could unlock a 100% upside in Union Pacific stock over two years.
Also on Monday, Bank of America analyst Ken Hoexter upgraded the Omaha-headquartered firm to “buy” and raised his price target to $241 – up about 15% from here.
Hoexter also agrees that bringing in Vena to lead Union Pacific would be a catalyst for the stock considering his track record at the company. Commenting on today’s development, he said:
This in our view highlights the service and operational underperformance UNP has experienced over the past few years, one of the driving points in our downgrade last month.
For the year, the Union Pacific stock is currently up a little over 2.0%.
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