Xerox's Mulcahy to retire as CEO; Ursula Burns to take reins

Xerox said Thursday that Chief Executive Anne Mulcahy will retire July 1, to be succeeded by Ursula Burns, the printer and copier maker's president.

Mulcahy, 56, is credited with leading the 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 as chairman of the Xerox board.

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

"She has been at my side helping to turn Xerox around," Mulcahy told investors at the company's annual shareholder meeting Thursday.

"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 through the company ranks.

Mulcahy joined the 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, 50, 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. The company's first-quarter revenue fell 18% year-over-year.