Teneo names Ursula Burns as chairwoman

08 July 2021 Consulting.us 2 min. read
More news on

Teneo, a New York-headquartered management consulting firm, has named Ursula Burns – formerly the CEO of Xerox – as its chairwoman.

Burns takes on the role after Teneo co-founder Declan Kelly stepped down as chairman and CEO last week. Kelly resigned after the Financial Times revealed allegations that he inappropriately touched several women at a charity event on May 2.

In a resignation statement on the firm’s website, Kelly said he “made an inadvertent, public and embarrassing mistake for which I took full responsibility and apologized to those directly affected, as well as my colleagues and clients.”

Teneo, which offers a range of consulting services in addition to core capabilities in PR and strategic communications, last week appointed co-founder Paul Keary as its new CEO. Keary previously served as the firm’s CFO.

Ursula Burns, Chairwoman, Teneo

Burns – the first Black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company – has served as a senior advisor at Teneo since 2017.

“We are very pleased to have Ursula taking on an expanded role with Teneo at this important time for the firm,” Keary said. “Ursula is an exceptional leader with deep expertise and experience that will be extremely valuable to both our clients and our 1,250 professionals around the world.”

Burns was at Xerox from 1980 to 2017, serving as CEO between 2009 and 2016 and as chairwoman between 2010 and 2017. Under her leadership, the company made its largest acquisition ever – the $6.4-billion purchase of Affiliated Computer Services – and in 2016 she oversaw the firm’s split into Xerox Corporation (document technology) and Conduent (business process services).

Before being appointed CEO at Xerox, Burns held leadership posts across corporate services, manufacturing, and product development.

After retiring from the company, she served as chairwoman of Netherlands-based telecom firm Veon from 2017 to 2020, and also served as CEO from 2018 to 2020.

Burns is a director on the boards of several major companies, including Uber Technologies and Exxon Mobil.

She holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

“I have worked for many years with Teneo both as a client at Xerox and VEON, as well as recently as a Senior Advisor,” Burns said. “The firm’s people are among the best advisors in the world, providing a unique combination of services not available at other firms. I have a deep understanding of the business, the needs of its clients, and a sincere appreciation for all the great Teneo professionals around the world. As Chairwoman, I intend to focus on advising and growing Teneo’s clients, as well as continuing to build a world-class firm culture.”

Teneo has more than 1,250 employees in over 30 offices across the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. The firm provides services in strategic communications, financial and risk advisory, restructuring, digital transformation, talent advisory, development and mentoring, and ESG advisory.