September 20, 1958 |
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||New York University
Ursula M. Burns (born September 20, 1958) serves as Chairman and CEO of Xerox. She is the first African-American woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company. She is also the first woman to succeed another woman as head of a Fortune 500 company. In 2009, Forbes rated her the 14th most powerful woman in the world.
Burns was raised by a single mother in the Baruch Houses, a New York city housing project. Both of her parents were Panamanian immigrants. She attended Cathedral High School, a Catholic all-girls school on East 56th Street in New York. She went on to obtain a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering from New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering in 1980 and a master of science in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University a year later.
Career at Xerox
In 1980, Burns first worked for Xerox as a summer intern, permanently joining a year later, in 1981, after completing her master's degree. She worked in various roles in product development and planning in the remainder of the 1980s throughout her 20s.
In January 1990, her career took an unexpected turn when Wayland Hicks, then a senior executive, offered Burns a job as his executive assistant. She accepted and worked for him for roughly nine months when she was ready to go back home because she was about to be married to Lloyd Bean. In June 1991, she became executive assistant to then chairman and chief executive Paul Allaire. In 1999, she was named vice president for global manufacturing.
In 2000, Burns was named a senior vice president and began working closely with soon to be CEO Anne Mulcahy, in what both women have described as a true partnership. Nine years later, in July 2009, she was named CEO, succeeding Mulcahy, who remained as chairwoman until May 2010.
Burns has served on numerous professional and community boards, including Exxon Mobil Corporation, American Express, Boston Scientific, FIRST, National Association of Manufacturers, University of Rochester, the MIT Corporation, the Rochester Business Alliance, and the RUMP Group. She will serve as Vice Chairwoman of the Executive Committee of The Business Council in 2013 and 2014.
She was the Commencement speaker at MIT's 2011 Commencement, which was also the conclusion of MIT's 150th anniversary celebration. She delivered the 2011 Commencement address at the University of Rochester. She was the 2012 Commencement speaker for Xavier University of Louisiana's May 12 Commencement ceremony, where she also received an honorary degree, one of the institution's highest honors.
Ursula Burns made headlines in 2009 when she became the first African-American woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Burns has been exceptionally visible during her tenure, making frequent public appearances even as the company’s prospects have faltered. Burns pushed for the $6.4 billion acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services that closed in 2010, claiming it would help the business. Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX), though, has yet to see any substantial benefit from the deal. Late last year, the company called the police prior to announcing 168 layoffs at its Cary, N.C., facility, noting they “were expecting trouble.” It was the second round of a total of roughly 500 layoffs. This treatment of employees stands in contrast to how the board treats Burns, awarding her an average of $13 million a year between 2010 and 2012. One former employee, commenting on Glassdoor, said, “Most upper management have received salary increase over the last 6 years, but staff has not.”
- Byrnes, Nanette; Crockett, Roger O. (June 8, 2009). "An Historic Succession At Xerox". Business Week.
- Shambora, Jessica (May 22, 2009). "Xerox's next CEO: Ursula Burns".
- "The 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes.com. August 19, 2009.
- "Ursula M. Burns". BlackEntrepreneurProfile.com.
- Bryant, Adam (February 20, 2010). "Xerox’s New Chief Tries to Redefine Its Culture". The New York Times.
- "Leading the way: Ursula Burns". London Business School.
- Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris Elected Chairman, The Business Council, dow.com, October 19, 2012
- Press Release: The Dow Chemical Company, Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris Elected Chairman, The Business Council, Yahoo!, October 19, 2012
- "Xerox Corporation CEO Ursula Burns to Address University of Rochester College Commencement". Rochester.edu.
- Morris, Betsy (November 19, 2007). "Xerox's dynamic duo". CNN.
- "Ursula M. Burns", Black Entrepreneur Profile Website
- Ursula Burns Video produced by Makers: Women Who Make America
|President of Xerox
|Chief Executive Officer of Xerox
|Chairperson of Xerox