Xerox Names Ursula Burns CEO

Burns named Xerox CEO, becoming largest company to be headed by black woman.
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Xerox

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made good on what many industry watchers expected -- naming President Ursula Burns CEO yesterday. Burns replaces Anne Mulcahy, who is retiring July 1. In the process, Xerox will become the largest U.S. company to be led by a black woman.

Ursula Burns, 50, has been company president since 2007. By many accounts, Burns has been Mulcahy's right-hand woman since then. The management move was expected. Only the timing remained open.

Burns joined as an engineering intern in 1980. She rose up through the ranks, taking on varying assignments throughout the company, including some of its more well-known teams -- office color, the fax business and office network printing. In 2000, she headed manufacturing and the supply chain, later expanding her portfolio to include research, product development and marketing.

"Ursula takes on the leadership role the old-fashioned way," Mulcahy said. "She has earned it. And, for that, she has my deep respect and confidence."

Mulcahy, 56, has been CEO since August 2001 and chairperson since January 2002. She'll remain as chair after July 1. Mulcahy has been with the company for 33 years. As CEO, she guided it from the brink of bankruptcy in her early tenure and through the industry's shift to digital platforms as of late.

Burns is taking over the reins during a perilous herself -- with the company's sales having softened during the economic downturn. Xerox has been in a capital-raising mood of late, closing on a $750 million offer for senior unsecured notes last Tuesday. It plans to use the funds to pay down debts.

Earlier, Xerox gave guidance expecting second quarter earnings to come in between 10 cents and 12 cents per share and 2009 full year to land between 50 cents and 55 cents.

Xerox also announced a $4.25 cash dividend yesterday.

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