Anne Mulcahy, chairman and CEO of Xerox, will retire as CEO effective 1 July. She will be succeeded as CEO by Ursula Burns, currently president of the company, while Mulcahy will reman as chairman.
"As CEO, Anne successfully led a multibillion-dollar turnaround of Xerox and transformed the business into an innovative digital technology and services enterprise," says NJ Nicholas, lead independent director of Xerox's board of directors.
"She has consistently demonstrated values-based leadership, strong strategic insight, broad expertise and a remarkable ability to create 'followership' through the respect she earned from Xerox people.
"As important, Anne has focused intently on developing the next generation of leadership at Xerox, with Ursula Burns prepared to strengthen Xerox's industry-leading position in the marketplace."
Mulcahy, 56, became CEO of Xerox on 1 August 2001, and chairman on 1 January 2002.
The printer giant faced bankruptcy in 2001, and was being investigated for accounting practices. Mulcahy is credited with turning the company around.
Prior to becoming CEO, she was president and chief operating officer of the company from May 2000 to July 2001.
She began her Xerox career as a sales representative in Boston in 1976.
During her 33-year tenure with Xerox, Mulcahy has held senior management positions in sales, human resources and marketing, and led the Xerox business division that sells products for reseller and dealer channels.
The hallmarks of Mulcahy's leadership include a close connection to Xerox customers – she is often referred to as Xerox's chief salesperson – and a commitment to innovation. As a result, Xerox has completely overhauled its product line during her tenure, launching more than 80 products in the last three years and earning the number-one revenue share position in its industry.
In addition, Mulcahy created and scaled Xerox Global Services, which offers document-related outsourcing, imaging and consulting services, and last year generated $3,5-billion in annuity revenue.
"I joined Xerox because it offered a level playing field – a sales environment where meritocracy ruled," says Mulcahy. "And I stayed because the values of the brand, the culture and the people are so closely aligned with how I think every business should operate.
"It has been a privilege leading Xerox. The decision to move on is made easy only in the fact that Ursula Burns is so well positioned to take Xerox to the next level. Our strategy is sound and well defined. And, despite a tough economy, we are generating cash, building our technology and services pipeline and poised for a period of steady profitable growth in the future.
"Ursula takes on the leadership role the old-fashioned way. She has earned it. And, for that, she has my deep respect and confidence."
Burns, 50, joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern and later assumed roles in product development and planning. From 1992 to 2000, Burns led several business teams including the office colour and fax business and office network printing business. In 2000, she was named senior vice president, Corporate Strategic Services, heading up manufacturing and supply chain operations. She then took on the broader role of 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 organisation, corporate strategy, human resources, corporate marketing and global accounts.
Her appointment marks the first time a Fortune 500 company has had two consecutive women as CEOs.