"As I've progressed in my career, I've come to appreciate — and really value — the other attributes that define a company's success beyond the P&L: great leadership, long-term financial strength, ethical business practices, evolving business strategies, sound governance, powerful brands, values-based decision-making." - Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO
When Burns joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern, the company was the leader in the global photocopying market. As she later assumed roles in product development and planning, the company was securing its leadership position in digital document technologies. 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 almost $600 billion business services market and extending the company’s reach into diverse areas of business process and IT outsourcing. Xerox is on track to have two-thirds its revenue come from Services by 2017.
On May 20, 2010, Burns became chairman of the company, leading the more than 140,000 people of Xerox who serve clients in more than 180 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 their core business.
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 addition to the Xerox board, she is a board director of the American Express Corporation and Exxon Mobil Corporation. Burns also 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. 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). In March 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Burns vice chair of the President’s Export Council.
Ursula Burns in the News
Les Echos.fr, “Ursula Burns: The future of Xerox is not 3D printing”, 2014 April 7
In interview with French financial daily newspaper Ursula Burns responds to questions about the decline in printing, growth in services and Xerox’s approach to 3D printing.
Financial Times, “Reshaping Xerox”, 2014 April 6
Video interview with Ursula Burns discusses how she has led a radical reshaping of Xerox away from its traditional focus on documents hardware to business services.
USA Today, "Engineering a revolution at Xerox”, 2014 March 26
Article looks at Xerox’s transformation to becoming a computer services company.
Fortune.com, "Backstage with Xerox CEO Ursula Burns", 24 March 2014
Xerox CEO Ursula Burns explains how Xerox is changing, and why we're changing.
CNBC Squawk Box, 18 March 2014
In a video interview Xerox CEO Ursula Burns explains the company's place as an established leader in document technology and its growing business services presence.
Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit
Oct. 17, 2013 - Xerox CEO tackles the work-life balance debate.
History Makers PBS-TV Taping "An Evening with Ursula Burns"
Ursula Burns at the 2013 Catalyst Awards Conference
8th Annual Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit
Feb. 28, 2013: Ursula Burns spoke on stage with Caroline Clarke, journalist for Black Enterprise, on her personal journey and leadership.
MAKERS: Women Who Make America
Ursula Burns is featured in a series of video vignettes produced by "MAKERS: Women Who Make America". It tells the stories of how women have changed the landscape of America over the past 50 years. The series includes interviews with 100 trailblazing women. Portions of these interviews are being released throughout the year by AOL on Answers.com, and will be included in a planned PBS program.
Ursula Burns Discusses Innovation With Fast Company