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Ursula Burns

2021 Speaker

URSULA BURNS has extensive international experience of large companies confronting technology change of their industries. In June 2017 she was appointed as chairman of VEON Ltd., where she was chairman and CEO from December 2018 until June 2020. Burns was the chairman of the board of the Xerox Corporation and chief executive officer. She was the first African American woman to serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company and the first female to accede to the position of CEO of such a company in succession after another female. She joined Xerox as an intern in 1980 and during her career she has held leadership posts spanning corporate services, manufacturing and product development. She was named president in 2007. Burns, who regularly appears on Fortune’s and Forbes’ list of the world’s most powerful women, is a board director of Exxon Mobil, Nestlé, and Uber. U.S. President Barack Obama appointed her to help lead the White House national program on STEM from 2009 through 2016. She also served as chair of the President’s Export Council from 2015-2016 after service as vice chair 2010-2015. Burns provides leadership counsel to several other community, educational and nonprofit organizations including the Ford Foundation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Corporation, Cornell Tech board of overseers, the New York City Ballet, and the Mayo Clinic among others. Burns is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, The Royal Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

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