Name: Ursula M. Burns
Date of Birth: September 20, 1958
Profession: Chairman/CEO, Xerox Corporation
Career Positions Held:
Senior Vice President, Xerox (2000)
President, Xerox (2007)
Board Director, American Express
Board Director, Exxon Mobile
Ursula Burns is the chairman and chief executive officer of Xerox; the first African American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Xerox (NYSE: XRX) is the world’s leading enterprise for business process and document management.
Burns was raised by a single mother in the Baruch Houses, a New York city housing project. Before the Lower East Side was cool, it was a hub for gangs. Burns was raised by her mother in a housing project there. Her mother ran a daycare center out of her home and ironed shirts so that she could afford to send Ursula to Catholic school. Burns earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of NYU and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University.
” In 2009, Forbes rated her the 14th most powerful woman in the world.”
Burns joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern. From 1992 through 2000, Burns, at a pivotal point in the company’s history, led several business teams including the company’s color business and office network printing business.
In 2000, Burns was named senior vice president, Corporate Strategic Services, heading up manufacturing and supply chain operations. Alongside then-CEO Anne Mulcahy, Burns worked to restructure Xerox through its turnaround to emerge as a leader in color technology and document services. A key factor in the company’s turnaround was its research and development of new products and technologies, and at the time Burns was responsible for leading Xerox’s global research as well as product development, marketing and delivery. In April 2007, Burns was named president of Xerox, expanding her leadership to also include the company’s IT organization, corporate strategy, human resources, corporate marketing and global accounts. At that time, she was also elected a member of the company’s Board of Directors.
Burns was named chief executive officer in July 2009 and shortly after, made the largest acquisition in Xerox history, the $6.4 billion purchase of Affiliated Computer Services, catapulting the company’s presence in the $500 billion business services market and extending the company’s reach into diverse areas of business process and IT outsourcing.
On May 20, 2010, Burns became chairman of the company, leading the 140,000 people of Xerox who serve clients in more than 160 countries. Building on Xerox’s legacy of innovation, they’re enabling workplaces – from small businesses to large global enterprises — to simplify the way work gets done so they can focus more on what matters most: their real business.
In addition to the Xerox board, she is a board director of the American Express Corporation and Exxon Mobil Corporation.