After nearly 32 years with the railroad, Union Pacific Corp.’s board of directors today rewarded Gayla Thal by naming her senior vice president – law and general counsel.

Thal will succeed J. Michael Hemmer, who will retire later this year. She most recently served as vice president – law and chief compliance officer, and previously was a leader in the claims and risk management areas of the business.

“Gayla has successfully managed a comprehensive list of Union Pacific’s operational risks and legal issues. In these leadership roles, she has helped improve Union Pacific’s reputation in tandem with our outstanding service, safety and performance records,” President and CEO Jack Koraleski said in a statement.

Michael Whitcomb will replace Thal as vice president – law and chief compliance officer. Whitcomb has been with Union Pacific for more than 33 years, and previously served as assistant vice president – law.

Hemmer will remain with Union Pacific in an advisory role until his retirement.