Xerox CEO Mulcahy retiring, Burns to replace her

NEW YORK Xerox will become the largest U.S. company to be headed by a black woman.

Mulcahy, 56, is credited with leading the Norwalk, Conn.-based company out of a deep financial slump earlier in the decade. She was appointed in 2001 after the company fired G. Richard Thoman amid mounting losses.

Mulcahy will continue to chair the Xerox board.

The move has been in the works for some time, with Burns, 50, seen as an heir apparent since she was named president in April 2007.

"They effectively had a two-year transition period," said Shannon Cross, an analyst at Cross Research. "From what I understand, Anne is still going to be around full time, handling customer relations and strategy."

Xerox lead independent director N.J. Nicholas Jr. said in a statement Thursday, "As CEO, Anne successfully led a multibillion-dollar turnaround of Xerox and transformed the business into an innovative digital technology and services enterprise."

Mulcahy and Burns have both spent decades climbing the company ranks.

Mulcahy joined Xerox as a sales representative in 1976, coming up through management jobs in sales, human resources and marketing before being named president and chief operating officer in 2000.

Burns was appointed president in April 2007 after nearly three decades with Xerox.

She takes the top job in a period of renewed stress on the company, as the recession crimps spending on printer equipment and supplies.

Xerox said late last year it would cut 3,000 jobs to reduce costs, and the company's first-quarter revenue fell 18 percent.

Xerox shares slipped 8 cents, about 1.2 percent, to $6.82 Thursday. They have traded between $4.12 and $14.62 over the past year.

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