Ursula Burns

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Ursula Burns
Burns in 2004
Born (1958-09-20) September 20, 1958 (age 65)
New York City, U.S.
EducationBrooklyn Polytechnic Institute (BS)
Columbia University (MS)
Known forFormer CEO of Xerox
TitleCo-Founder, Integrum Holdings and Non-Executive Chairwoman, Teneo
SpouseLloyd Bean (died 2019)

Ursula M. Burns (born September 20, 1958) is an American businesswoman. Burns is known for her tenure as the CEO of Xerox from 2009 to 2016. In this role, Burns was the first black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. She is also the first woman to follow another as the head of a Fortune 500 company.[1][2] Burns remained the chairman at Xerox from 2010 to 2017.[3][4]

Burns is also known for serving on the board of directors of multiple large American companies, including Uber, American Express, and ExxonMobil. She was the chairperson and CEO of VEON from late 2018 to early 2020 and is the Non-Executive Chairwoman of Teneo.[5]

In 2021, Burns co-founded private equity firm Integrum Holdings.[6]

Under President Barack Obama Burns led the White House national program on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from 2009 to 2016.[7] Additionally, she was chairwoman of the President's Export Council from 2015 to 2016, following her role as vice chair from 2010 to 2015.[7][8]

In 2014, Forbes rated Burns as the 22nd most powerful woman in the world.[9]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in 1958, Burns was raised by a single mother in the Baruch Houses, a housing project in New York City.[1] Both of her parents were Panamanian immigrants. She attended and graduated Cathedral High School,[7] a Catholic all-girls school on East 56th Street in New York.

After high school, Burns attended Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute (now New York University Tandon School of Engineering) [10] where in 1980 [11] she earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering.[7] During that summer, she became a mechanical engineering summer intern at Xerox. This internship was an integral component of Xerox's graduate engineering initiative designed to support underrepresented minorities.[12] It not only provided her with valuable experience but also financially supported her pursuit of a master's degree at Columbia University,[7] which she completed in 1981.[12]

She has since received additional honorary degrees from New York University,[13] Williams College,[14] the University of Pennsylvania,[15] Howard University,[16] Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,[17] The City College of New York,[18] Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT),[19] the University of Rochester,[20] Xavier University,[21] and Georgetown University.[22]

Business career[edit]


Burns began her journey with Xerox as a summer intern in 1980[7] and officially joined the company a year later, following the completion of her master's degree[23] from Columbia University. She worked in various roles in product development and planning at the company for the remainder of the 1980s. 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 before returning home because she was about to marry.[24] In June 1991, she then became executive assistant to then-chairman and chief executive Paul Allaire. In 1999, she was named vice-president for global manufacturing.[23] In May 2000, Burns was named senior vice president of corporate strategic services and began working closely with soon-to-be CEO Anne Mulcahy, in what both women have described as a true partnership. Two years later, Burns became president of business group operations.[25]

In 2007, Burns assumed the role of president of Xerox.[25] In July 2009 she was named CEO, succeeding Mulcahy, who remained as chairwoman until May 2010.[23] The first black woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company,[1] Burns was also the first woman to succeed another woman as head of a Fortune 500 company. Shortly after being named CEO, Burns led the acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services.[26] While as CEO, Burns was named an International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2013.[27] In 2016, she led Xerox in a split into two independent companies:[28] Xerox Corporation and Conduent Incorporated.[26] She remained chairwoman and CEO of Xerox through the process, and was then appointed chairwoman of the standalone document technology company.[29] After stepping down from the position in December 2016, Burns was succeeded by Jeff Jacobson. She retained the title of chairwoman of the newly formed document technology company[28] until May 2017, when she left the Xerox board and her role as chairperson.[30]

Board roles[edit]

Burns has served on numerous boards, including those of Exxon Mobil Corporation,[31] American Express Corporation,[32][33] Datto Inc.,[32][34] Nestlé,[26] Boston Scientific,[10] FIRST, the National Association of Manufacturers, the University of Rochester, the MIT Corporation, the Rochester Business Alliance, and the RUMP Group.[10] She joined Teneo as a senior advisor in June 2017.[26] Burns joined the board of directors of Uber in late September 2017.[35] In 2020, she was appointed to the board of directors of Waystar.[36] Burns also remains on the boards of Endeavor Group Holdings and IHS Holding. In addition, Burns is on several private company boards, while also providing leadership counsel to several community, educational and non-profit organizations including the Ford Foundation,[37] the Metropolitan Museum of Art,[38] and the Mayo Clinic,[39] amongst others.

In April 2024, Burns was nominated for the board of directors of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.[40]


In July 2017, Burns was elected chairman of VEON, the world's 11th largest telecom service provider by subscribers,[41] by its board of directors.[42] With the sudden departure of the CEO in March 2018, she was made executive chairwoman pending a selection process, and in December 2018, she was appointed as CEO.[43]

In February 2020, Kaan Terzioğlu and Sergi Herrero were appointed co-CEOs, succeeding Burns.[44] In June 2020, Gennady Gazin succeeded Burns as chairman.[45]


Burns was announced to be joining Diageo board as a non-executive director, but Diageo announced in March 2018 that "Burns will not take up her appointment as Non-Executive Director on the Diageo Board" as she has been appointed as interim Executive Chairman of VEON.[46]

Integrum Holdings[edit]

In 2021, Burns partnered with Tagar Olson and Richard Kunzer to co-found private equity firm Integrum Holdings. The firm, which raised $1.1bn for its inaugural fund, focuses on technology-enabled services companies.[47]

Public service[edit]

U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Burns to help lead the White House National STEM program in 2009,[32][48] and she remained a leader of the STEM program until 2016.[8] In March 2010 President Obama appointed Burns as vice-chair of the President's Export Council,[32][48] a role which she held from 2015 to 2016.[8]

In February 2022, Burns joined the U.S. Department of Commerce's Advisory Council on Supply Chain Competitiveness as Vice Chair.[49] [50]

Community activities[edit]

Burns provides leadership counsel to community, educational, and non-profit organizations including FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), National Academy Foundation, MIT, and the U.S. Olympic Committee, among others.[32][better source needed] She is a founding board director of Change the Equation, which focuses on improving the U.S.'s education system in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).[32][51] She served as vice chairwoman of the executive committee of The Business Council between 2013 and 2014.[52][53] She has delivered the commencement address at universities including Rochester Institute of Technology,[54] MIT,[55] the University of Rochester,[56] Xavier University,[57] Howard University,[58] Williams College,[59] and Georgetown University.[22]

She has been listed multiple times by Forbes as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world. In 2015, she was listed as the 29th.[9] In 2018 she was featured among "America's Top 50 Women In Tech".[60]

In 2016, hacked emails suggested she was on a list of potential candidates for vice-president for Hillary Clinton.[61]

Personal life[edit]

Burns was married to Lloyd Bean until his death in 2019; he also worked at Xerox, and they lived in Rochester, New York.[23][62] She has a daughter Melissa (born c. 1992) and a stepson Malcolm (born c. 1989) who attended MIT.[23][63] Burns has been a major donor to McQuaid Jesuit High School in New York.[64]


Burns published a memoir, Where You Are Is Not Who You Are: A Memoir, in 2021.[65]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Byrnes, Nanette; Crockett, Roger O. (8 June 2009). "An Historic Succession At Xerox". Business Week. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009.
  2. ^ Shambora, Jessica (22 May 2009). "Xerox'snext CEO: Ursula Burns". Archived from the original on 3 May 2019. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  3. ^ "Xerox's stock price is rising, but it's not what you think". democratandchronicle.com. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  4. ^ Johnson, Kandia (6 January 2017). "Ursula Burns Steps Down as XEROX CEO After Company Split". blackenterprise.com. Black Enterprise Magazine. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Ursula Burns". Teneo. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  6. ^ Armental, Maria. "WSJ News Exclusive | Integrum Holdings Looks to Build a More Inclusive Approach to Private Equity". WSJ. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Ursula Burns's Biography". The HistoryMakers. Retrieved 6 November 2023.
  8. ^ a b c [1], "Xerox's Ursula Burns: U.S. Businesses Must Embrace Globalization ", US News, Gaby Galvin, May 5, 2017
  9. ^ a b "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes.
  10. ^ a b c "Ursula M. Burns". BlackEntrepreneurProfile.com. Archived from the original on 18 June 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2006.
  11. ^ "Ursula Burns, CEO". Xerox. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  12. ^ a b Lanum, Mackenzie (3 June 2011). "Ursula Burns (1958- ) •". Retrieved 6 November 2023.
  13. ^ [2] "Ursula M. BurnsReceives Honorary Doctorate from NYU," New York University, May 12, 2010
  14. ^ [3] "Williams College Announces its 2015 Honorary Degree Recipients," Williams College, March 18, 2015
  15. ^ [4] "Penn's 2013 Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients," University of Pennsylvania, March 12, 2013
  16. ^ ""Recipients of Honorary Degrees and Other University Honors (by year)," Howard University". howard.edu. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  17. ^ [5] "Remarks at 2013 Honorary Degree Recipients Dinner," Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, May 2013
  18. ^ [6] "CCNY Names Top Three for 2015 Commencement Honors," The City College of New York, March 12, 2015
  19. ^ "Ursula Burns Inspires RIT Graduates to Strive for the 'Unimaginable'". www.rit.edu. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  20. ^ "Commencement :: University of Rochester". www.rochester.edu. Archived from the original on 20 November 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  21. ^ "Ursula Burns is Xavier University's commencement speaker". nola.com. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  22. ^ a b "Georgetown Announces 2018 Commencement Speakers". www.georgetown.edu. 4 May 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  23. ^ a b c d e Bryant, Adam (20 February 2010). "Xerox's New Chief Tries to Redefine Its Culture". The New York Times.
  24. ^ "Leading the way: Ursula Burns". London Business School. Archived from the original on 25 April 2017. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  25. ^ a b "Ursula Burns | USOC Board of Directors". Team USA. Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  26. ^ a b c d [7] Archived 31 March 2019 at the Wayback Machine, "Ursula M. Burns joins Teneo as Senior Advisor," Teneo, June 28, 2017
  27. ^ "60 new Fellows elected to the Academy for 2013". Royal Academy of Engineering. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  28. ^ a b [8], "Diageo announces appointment to its Board of Directors," Webwire, July 26, 2017
  29. ^ [9], "Xerox Names Ursula Burns Chairman of Post-Separation Document Technology Company," Xerox, May 20, 2016
  30. ^ [10], "Robert Keegan replaces UrsulaBurns as Xerox chairman," Rochester Business Journal, Velvet Spicer, May 24, 2017
  31. ^ "Ursula M. Burns Elected to ExxonMobil Board". ExxonMobil News Releases. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  32. ^ a b c d e f "Ursula M. Burns, Director since: 2007". Xerox. 1 August 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  33. ^ "AXP Company Profile & Executives - American Express Co. - Wall Street Journal". quotes.wsj.com. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  34. ^ "Datto, Inc.: Board of Directors - Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  35. ^ "Travis Kalanick appoints Ursula Burns, John Thain to Uber's board". techcrunch.com. 30 September 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  36. ^ "Waystar Appoints Ursula Burns to Board of Directors". prnewswire.com (Press release). Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  37. ^ "Ursula M. Burns". Ford Foundation. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  38. ^ "The Met Elects Three New Trustees—Ursula Burns, Amy Griffin, and David S. Winter - The Metropolitan Museum of Art". www.metmuseum.org. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  39. ^ "About Us - Board of Trustees". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  40. ^ "TSMC names nominees for board - Taipei Times". www.taipeitimes.com. 13 April 2024. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  41. ^ [11], "VEON names former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns as chairwoman," Reuters, Eric Auchard, July 24, 2017
  42. ^ [12], "VEON board elects former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns as chairman," Reuters and The Economic Times, July 24, 2017
  43. ^ Bicheno, Scott (13 December 2018). "Burns officially made Veon CEO at last". Telecoms.com. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  44. ^ Burkitt-Gray, Alan (14 February 2020). "New Co-CEOs for Veon as Ursula Burns Rreverts to Chairmanship". Capacity Media. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  45. ^ Boyadzhieva, Yanitsa (2 June 2020). "Veon Settles on New Chair, Board Members". Mobile World Live. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  46. ^ GmbH, finanzen net. "Diageo Says Ursula Burns Not To Take Up Non-Executive Director Role On Board". markets.businessinsider.com. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  47. ^ Armental, Maria. "WSJ News Exclusive | Integrum Holdings Looks to Build a More Inclusive Approach to Private Equity". WSJ. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  48. ^ a b "Ursula M. Burns". President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The White House. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  49. ^ "Ursula M. Burns". Center for a New American Security. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  50. ^ "ACSCC Member Biographies". International Trade Administration. Archived from the original on 6 March 2022. Retrieved 6 May 2024.
  51. ^ "Fem Boss: Ursula Burns – Chairman & CEO of Xerox Corporation". Innov8tiv. 27 April 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  52. ^ "Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris Elected Chairman, The Business Council" (Press release). Business Wire. 19 October 2012.
  53. ^ "Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris Elected Chairman, The Business Council". Yahoo! (Press release). 19 October 2012.
  54. ^ Stella, Paul (3 October 2008). "Xerox President Ursula Burns Selected as RIT's 2009 Commencement Speaker". Rochester Institute of Technology (Press release).
  55. ^ Turner, Elijah Jordan (9 November 2010). "Xerox CEO Ursula M. Burns to speak at Commencement". The Tech.
  56. ^ "Xerox Corporation CEO Ursula Burns to Address University of Rochester College Commencement". University of Rochester (Press release). 1 April 2011.
  57. ^ Pope, John (22 March 2012). "Ursula Burns is Xavier University's commencement speaker". The Times-Picayune.
  58. ^ "Xerox Chairman & CEO Ursula M. Burns to Deliver Howard University 2015 Commencement Address". Howard University (Press release). 23 April 2015. Archived from the original on 8 March 2021.
  59. ^ "Ursula M. Burns, Commencement Speaker". Williams College. 2015.
  60. ^ "Ursula Burns". Forbes.
  61. ^ Seitz-Wald, Alex (18 October 2016). "Hacked emails reveal 39 names on Clinton's "first cut" VP list". NBC News.
  62. ^ "Lloyd Bean Obituary - Rochester, NY | Rochester Democrat And Chronicle".
  63. ^ Alesci, Cristina. "Xerox's Ursula Burns: Business is made for men". CNNMoney. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  64. ^ Latona, Mike (4 August 2014). "Major gifts make major difference". Catholic Education. Catholic Courier. Archived from the original on 14 November 2017.
  65. ^ "Where You Are Is Not Who You Are: A Memoir". GoodReads.

Further reading[edit]

  • Pendergast, Sara.; Pendergast, Tom; Gale, Thomson (2007). Contemporary Black biography. Volume 60 : profiles from the international Black community. Detroit: Thomson Gale. ISBN 978-1-4144-9766-2. OCLC 170034863.
  • Britton, Dana M.; Hetfield, Lisa (2016). Junctures in women's leadership : business. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-6593-4. OCLC 917888397.

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by President of Xerox
Chief Executive Officer of Xerox
Succeeded by
Chair of Xerox
Succeeded by
Keith Cozza