Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy steps down

After 33 years with the document company, Mulcahy is moving aside so President Ursula Burns can take her place.

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By Catherine Clifford, CNNMoney.com staff writer

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Anne Mulcahy became the stuff of legend at her tenure as CEO at Xerox, turning around a giant on the brink of bankruptcy.
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Xerox Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Anne Mulcahy will pass the torch to the current president, Ursula Burns, effective July 1, according to a statement from the company. Mulcahy will remain as the chairman of the board.

Mulcahy has become the stuff of business legend since taking the reigns as CEO in 2001. At the time of her appointment, she was considered an unlikely choice, but she has since brought the company - which was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy - back to a market-leader position.

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

Mulcahy worked for Xerox (XRX, Fortune 500) for 33 years, in a career that started as a sales representative in Boston in 1976. She then performed in senior management positions in sales, human resources and marketing before becoming president and chief operating officer in May 2000. She took the helm as CEO on Aug. 1, 2001.

Over the past three decades, she became known for her commitment to innovation, never backing out of research-and-development spending even during tough times.

She said in a story written for Fortune in April, "I know from experience one of the biggest mistakes that can be made right now is to slash investments in innovation."

"It has been a privilege leading Xerox," said Mulcahy in a written statement from the company. "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."

Burns' succession to the CEO post was no surprise to observers; the two worked together at the top for years and had already been negotiating and preparing for the transition.

"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," said Nicholas.

Burns, 50, started at Xerox as an intern in the summer of 1980. She later spent time in product development and planning before becoming president in April 2007.

Mulcahy "leaves the CEO role having created a rich legacy that I am honored to build on," Burns said in a statement. "It is humbling to follow such a great leader and to serve as CEO of such a great company." To top of page

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