Ursula Burns, former president of Xerox Corporation, was named by the board to succeed Anne Mulcahy as chief executive officer effect July 1, 2009 and assumed the role of chairman of the company on May 20, 2010.
She is the first black woman to head a Fortune 500 company. According to Xerox, this is also the first time a female chief executive has replaced another female chief executive at a Fortune 500 company.
Burns was ranked 27th on FORTUNE magazine's ninth annual list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business.
Burns joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern. She subsequently held several positions in engineering, including product development and planning. In June 1991 she became the executive assistant to Paul A. Allaire, then Xerox chairman and chief executive officer.
From 1992 through 2000, Burns led several business teams, including the office color and fax business, office network copying business and the departmental business unit.
In May 2000, she was named senior vice president, Corporate Strategic Services, and was named president of Xerox Business Group Operations in 2002. She was appointed an officer of the company in 1997 and named a corporate senior vice president in 2000.
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 received a bachelor of science degree from Polytechnic Institute of New York in 1980 and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University in 1981.
She serves on professional and community boards, including American Express, Boston Scientific Corp., CASA - Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, National Association of Manufacturers, University of Rochester, and the Rochester Business Alliance.