Warren Buffett’s BNSF Railway Company, operator of one of the largest railroad networks in North America announced the transition of its leadership on Wednesday. According to the company, its president and chief operating officer Carl Ice will serve as CEO starting January 1, 2014.

BNSF Railway Warren Buffett

Mr. Ice, a 34-year veteran at BNSF will succeed Mathew K. Rose, the current chairman and CEO of BNSF. Mr. Rose has led the railroad operator since 2000.

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Statements from Ice and Rose

In a statement, Mr. Ice said, “As a long-time member of BNSF’s executive team, I am humbled and honored to be in this role. BNSF is a great organization with great people that provides important services to our customers and country. I look forward to continuing BNSF’s success in improving safety, providing quality service and consistent growth.”

Even as he moves on, Mr. Rose had good things to say: “For over a decade, Carl has worked alongside me, and his assumption of the CEO title is a natural and well-deserved transition, I am pleased for him and the organization, and the continuity he represents as he undertakes the leadership of this role.”

According to BNSF, Mr. Rose will assume the newly-created position of executive chairman. In his new role, he will focus on investment, strategic and organizational planning, market positioning, public policy and other long-term objectives of the company.

Berkshire’s history with Warren Buffett’s BNSF

Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE.BRK.B), the conglomerate controlled by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, owns BNSF. The railroad operator accounts for approximately 20% of the $5 billion total net earnings of Berkshire in the third quarter.

Warren Buffett said the performance of BNSF “far exceeded” his high expectation at the time when Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) decided to purchase it. He added, “The combination of Matt’s and Carl’s talents is the perfect arrangement for the future. I consider Berkshire very fortunate to have these men at BNSF’s helm.”