UPDATE: Ursula Burns Steps Down as XEROX CEO After Company Split

Ursula Burns steps down as CEO and assumes new role after XEROX splits later this year

Ursula Burns
Ursula Burns

Updated Jan. 6, 2017 at 3:05 p.m. EST

As of Jan. 3, Xerox Corp. spun off Conduent Inc. and was officially split into two companies, while Ursula Burns is no longer serving as Xerox’s CEO. The company is now being led by Jeff Jacobson. The new chief executive released a statement, calling the transition “an historic day for Xerox. The successful completion of the separation sharpens our market focus and commitment to our customers.”

Burns made history back in 2009 when she became the first African American woman CEO to head a Fortune 500 company. She now serves as chairman of the Xerox board. Read more about Burns below.

Originally published May 31, 2016

Ursula Burns, the first black woman to lead an S&P 500 company, will step down from her role as chief executive officer at Xerox after the company splits into two companies—a document technology company, which includes its Document Technology and Document Outsourcing businesses, and a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company.

[Related: Black History Month: Ursula Burns, Fortune 500 CEO]

After the split, Burns will become chairman of the newly formed document technology company. According to a statement released by XEROX, “Ursula’s deep industry experience and relationships along with her proven leadership skills will be valuable assets for the Document Technology company and will help ensure a smooth transition to a new management team,” said Ann Reese, Xerox’s lead independent director. “The company will be well-positioned to leverage its global industry leadership, strategic focus and ability to innovate post-separation, and we are very pleased that Ursula will continue to play a critical role in making that happen.”

In 1980, Burns joined Xerox as an intern and worked her way up to CEO. Considering only 15 black executives have ever made CEO of a Fortune 500 company, this is a dismal outlook for the corporate sector. “A sad day for me, but a happy day as well, ” said Burns during her annual shareholders address in Norwalk, Conn., to a small gathering of executives and investors, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

In 2014, Ursula Burns made the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Additionally, Black Enterprise listed her on the 10 Most Powerful African Americans directing U.S. Corporations list, as well as being ranked among BE’s “75 Most Powerful Women in Business” and the “100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America.”

  • Even more sadder that out of millions of black people on 15 was even considered.. But the time has changed and we building our own Fortune 500 companies and executives black communities style…

  • Glen Thompson

    Ursula Burns will go down is history as the worst CEOs in the long Xerox history. Her innability to lead and motivate is well documented. http://time.com/51222/9-ceos-with-the-absolute-worst-reputations/ Burns failed miserably in leading people due to her lack of professional communication and interpersonal skills. She make horrific financial decisions and nearly destroyed the legacy Xerox by siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars from the legacy annuity streams and investing in the defunct BPO business line – formerly ACS, now Conduent. All is not lost for Xerox – the mood in the company as of January 1, 2017 is at a historic high point. The celebration and sense of righting a wrong is very high. Good riddance Ms. Burns!

    • Kkutz

      Glen, Spot on regarding Burns inept leadership but your way off base on the ACS deal. Had Burns not forced her unethical leadership as well as the aged, antiquated Xerox model onto ACS it would have remained the cash cow it was before Xerox/Burns destroyed it. My first company out of school in 1983 was acquired by ACS in 1991. It was not perfect company, but certainly created and promoted a fair positive ethical environment with outstanding career paths for anyone willing to earn their keep. I witness first hand the astonishingly quick negative transformation Burn’s and the evil empire created. Case and point, HP went down the same path when it acquired EDS several yrs prior to the Xerox deal. I was hopeful that Burns had taken note or researched what not to do, but no such luck. So take it from me a combine 30yr veteran of ACS it was Xerox, specifically Burn’s that destroyed ACS NOT the other way around. For the record, my judgement is based solely on the her performance personal witnessed and has noting to do with race, gender or any other protected class.

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