Warren Buffett's railroad names Kathryn Farmer to be 1st female CEO of a major U.S. railroad

BNSF Railroad operates some 32,500 miles of track in 28 states

BNSF Railway, one of the largest railroad operators in North America and owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc  said on Monday it appointed Kathryn Farmer as its chief executive officer, replacing Carl Ice, who led the company since 2013.

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Farmer, who currently serves as the company's executive vice president of operations, will assume the roles of chief executive and president on Jan. 1, BNSF said in a statement.

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Ice will retire at the end of 2020, but will remain on the company's board, it added.

"Carl (Ice) has been critical to BNSF's success for a very long time. I thank him for his leadership and his accomplishments," Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett said in a statement.

"We look forward to Katie's (Farmer) leadership and more success. She possesses all of the qualities that make us excited about the future."

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