Status Profile: Ursula M. Burns

photo from

by A.J. Washington

For those of you who don’t know who the powerful woman in the picture above is, let’s go to class. Ursula M. Burns is the chief operating officer of Xerox Inc. What’s important and what you need to know, is Burns is the first African-American woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company- a feat not to be taken lightly.

Of the 500 companies on the 2009 Fortune list, only five CEOs were African-American ( at the time of publication, Burns was yet to be named CEO).

In 1980, Ms. Burns came to Xerox as a mechanical engineering intern and never left. During her tenure at the company, she has headed various aspects of the company, including, marketing, manufacturing, human resources and IT organization.  Burns currently serves on many prestigious  professional boards and in November 2009, President Obama appointed her to help lead his STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiative.

As a ‘young’ CEO, Burns still has a few things to prove to the 130,000 employees she is responsible for; but her incredible track record and experience will prove to lead her company to higher heights and ranking on the Fortune 500 list.


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