Ursula Burns at Xerox Corporation: Breaking the Glass Ceiling


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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN074
Case Length : 20 Pages
Period : 2000-2011
Pub Date : 2011
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Xerox Corporation
Industry : Document management
Countries : US, Global

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts

Early Years

Burns was born on September 20, 1958, in New York. Raised by a single mother, she was the middle child in a family of three...

Turning Around Xerox

In 2000, the technology bubble burst, leaving Xerox in the grip of rising debt. In October 2000, the company reported a third quarter loss of US$167 million, its first quarterly loss in 16 years. That same year, the company reported its first annual loss in five years. Xerox's stock fell by 60% compared to the earlier year....

Leading Xerox

In 2009, Mulcahy announced that she would retire from the CEO post. Her handpicked successor was Burns who had been by her side helping to turn Xerox around when the company was in a crisis. Moreover, Burns had an understanding of the organization and its business. "The succession plan has been in the making for several years and Xerox is as prepared as it can be. The strategy in place is very sound," said Angele Boyd, vice president, IDC ....

Breaking The Glass Ceiling

Industry observers felt that Burns would act as an inspiration for many for having shattered the glass ceiling. They pointed out that despite being a black woman from a not too-well-to-do family, Burns had been able to achieve such success in life. They pointed out that, according to Catalyst , in 2009 women made up 59.6% of the US labor force, but less than 16% of top corporate officers were female (Refer to Exhibit IV for percentage of woman corporate officers in the US and to Exhibit V for how the percentage of women fall away at executive levels). The figures were even lower for minorities. Some analysts opined that Burns was a great role model for her achievement irrespective of background, color, or gender....

Excerpts cont... - Next Page>>

 

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