Why Xerox CEO Burns is buying bigSeptember 29, 2009: 1:37 PM ET
Xerox's $6.4 billion deal to buy Affiliated Computer Services--which walloped the stock yesterday--is evidence that new CEO Ursula Burns knows what she wants and won't waste time getting it. "Top line revenue growth," Burns replied, at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit, when asked what is Xerox's "unfinished business."
The Summit interview was the first public sit-down for Burns and Anne Mulcahy since the former took over from the latter in the historic CEO handoff this past July. (It was the first time that a woman succeeded another woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company.) And despite the ease of their transition (Mulcahy, still chairman, called it "startlingly seemless"), Burns hereby IDs herself as a grower vs. a cost-cutter--the latter being Mulcahy's identity since she rescued Xerox from near-bankruptcy almost a decade ago.
If the Xerox-ACS deal goes through--which is likely despite early investor angst (Xerox stock is up today)--how big will the new Xerox (XRX) be? It will have more than $22 billion in revenue, vaulting Xerox up the Fortune 500 to the territory of Google (GOOG) and Oracle (ORCL)--though, as tech investors know, Oracle is a ravenous acquirer and sure to leap up the rankings too. Via the ACS (ACS) buyout, though, Xerox will likely climb past Nike (NKE) and giant utility Exelon (EXC) on the Fortune 500.
Quite a rise for Burns, who started at Xerox as an intern in 1980 and hardly imagined she'd rise to the top. (She is also the first black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.) Click here to read a smart take by my colleague Jon Fortt, who interviewed Burns yesterday. And here is Ann Moore, the CEO of Time Inc. (TWX), Fortune's parent, interviewing Burns and Mulcahy at the Most Powerful Women Summit two weeks ago.--Patricia Sellers