In many respects, Burns's ascent to the top of Xerox--and the decisions she's been willing to make to ensure the company has a future--carries a business lesson for uncertain times. She is, by her own admission, in love with the company that gave her a livelihood and a 31-year career. And yet she isn't the least bit nostalgic when the conversation turns to returning Xerox to its former glories. That was then. She has long been willing to do whatever it takes--dismantle the company's manufacturing unit that shaped her career; cut back or eliminate products that once defined the Xerox brand; branch out into uncertain (and risky) new areas of business--in an effort to reposition the company in an era of technological upheaval. What's more, unlike her contemporaries at, say, Hewlett-Packard, Burns's career turn demonstrates that you don't need an outsider to save the day. An insider can do it just as well--and can bring with her an incomparable institutional knowledge and the deep well of respect of her peers. "I came in the wrong way," says Mulcahy of her surprise ascent to CEO. "As difficult as it was, Ursula came in the right way."

Quote comes from article in Fast Company


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