Xerox CEO Shuffle Historic for Women

First female-to-female handoff at big firm; first black woman in role
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2009 9:14 AM CDT
In this 2008 file photo, the Xerox Corporation headquarters in Norwalk, Conn., is shown.   (AP Photo/Douglas Healey, file)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The announcement that Ursula Burns will replace Anne Mulcahy as head of Xerox is brimming with historical significance, writes Patricia Sellers in Fortune. Not only is it the first woman-to-woman CEO handoff in Fortune 500 history, but Burns will be the first black woman to head a Fortune 500 company. It proves the “Queen Bee” era—in which businesswomen eschewed helping other women, afraid there wasn’t enough room for all of them—is over.

The hand-off is a natural one—Fortune dubbed Burns and Mulcahy “Xerox’s Dynamic Duo” in its 2007 most powerful women piece—but not one Mulcahy would ever have expected. She took the job reluctantly in 2001, never expecting to last this long. Now a much-revered success, she’s sad to leave. “It’s like your kids growing up, I guess,” she says. “It’s like, ‘Oh, I’m not the center of the universe anymore.” (Read more Anne Mulcahy stories.)