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.”