Ursula Burns Named Xerox CEO

Former president takes helm at tough time for company

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Xerox Corp. named Ursula Burns chief executive office Thursday. Burns, who currently serves as president, will replace Anne Mulcahy July 1.

Anne “leaves the CEO role having created a rich legacy that I am honored to build on,” said Burns in a statement. “It is humbling to follow such a great leader and to serve as CEO of such a great company. I’m grateful for the opportunity and, like Anne, focused on creating value for our customers, our people, our shareholders and our communities.”

Burns faces mounting challenges as Xerox recently cut 3,000 jobs to reduce costs, instituted a hiring freeze, and suspended matching contribution to employees’ 401(k[b1] ). Showing further signs of strain under tough economic conditions, the company’s first quarter revenue fell [b2] 18% year-over-year.

The move was not unexpected since Burns, 50, was seen as Mulcahy’s heir apparent since she was named president in 2007.

Mulcahy, 56, is credited for leading the company in a multibillion-dollar turnaround, despite her retirement she will retain her post as chairman.

Mulcahy will continue to chair the Xerox board. The announcement made at the annual shareholders meeting.

“Anne has focused intently on developing the next generation of leadership at Xerox, with Ursula Burns prepared to strengthen Xerox’s industry-leading position in the marketplace,” said N.J. Nicholas, Jr., lead independent director of Xerox’s board of directors.

Burns has spent almost 30 years with the printer and copier maker. She joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern and later assumed roles in product development and planning. As she rose through the ranks of the Norwalk, Connecticut-based company, she led several business teams including the office color and fax business and office network printing business. In 2000, she was named senior vice president of corporate strategic services and later took on the broader role of leading Xerox’s global research as well as product development, marketing and delivery.

She is a regular on Black Enterprise’s 100 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America list, and Xerox has been a staple on Black Enterprise’s Best Companies for Diversity list since it’s inception in 2005.

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  • Marilyn Malachi

    Great! I have followed Xerox for many years. I liked Anne Mulcahy and she has always been for me a very powerful female role model. I want to wish great spiritual success to Ursula Burns as the new C.E.O.

    To much is given, much is required. I am so proud of Ms. Burns.

    Marilyn Malachi

  • Patrice Brooks

    I have followed Ms. Burns for years and I’m thrilled beyond belief. I first read about her in 1989/1990. We were the same age and we were each on maternity leave. While I was doing some very mild telecommuting, she was conducting team meetings from home. She talked about her desire to rise to the top and she’s done it!

  • Glenda Vance

    What an inspiration this lady is to all black american women. This is my first time reading anything about Mrs Burns, but I too was truly motivated and thrilled to read about her accomplishments. Her story got me to dreaming again. I loved many of her comments throughout, especially her the one concerning greatness within and being associated with greatness. Keep going strong Mrs Burns,you have many looking up to you now for hope.