Xerox first large U.S. company to appoint black woman as CEO

Ursula Burns also first woman to take the executive reins from another woman
||Last Updated: 07/13/2009

Photocopier giant Xerox has broken new ground with the appointment of its latest CEO Ursula Burns.

Burns is the first African American woman to lead a major corporation in the United States. The mother of two is also the first woman to take the reins of a corporation from another woman.

Burns joined Xerox as a summer intern in 1980 and became a permanent employee after completing her master's degree in engineering a year later. Over the years, she climbed the ranks of the Norwalk, Conn.-based company, becoming general manager in 1997 and vice-president of worldwide manufacturing in 1999.