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Home » WSJ News Exclusive | Teneo Names Former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns as Next Board Chair

WSJ News Exclusive | Teneo Names Former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns as Next Board Chair

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Consulting firm Teneo Holdings LLC named corporate veteran

Ursula Burns

as its chairwoman, a move aimed at steadying the company after its longtime leader,

Declan Kelly,

resigned last week.

Ms. Burns, the former CEO of Xerox Corp., said she would focus on bolstering Teneo’s culture while also continuing to counsel the company’s roster of corporate clients. She has worked as a paid senior adviser at Teneo since 2017 and was previously a client of the company.

In taking on the chairwoman role, Ms. Burns, 62, signaled her confidence in the firm following weeks of tumult. “My reputation is pretty well known,” she said. “I put my name on things I believe in.”

Ms. Burns added, “I understand what’s ahead of us, and I’m confident that we’re ready for the future.”

Her appointment comes a week after Mr. Kelly resigned as CEO and chairman and apologized after behaving inappropriately with people at a celebrity-filled event hosted by the charity Global Citizen in early May. Mr. Kelly became drunk and touched women without their consent, the Financial Times reported, citing people who attended the event.

The charity removed Mr. Kelly from its board on May 3, and

General Motors Co.

dropped Teneo as an adviser after the details emerged in late June. Last week, Teneo named consulting veteran

Paul Keary,

one of the firm’s co-founders, as its CEO.

In recent days, Teneo executives have been reaching out to clients to answer questions and reassure them about the firm and its work, current employees say. Teneo now employs more than 1,200 people, with its staff including investment bankers, executive recruiters and former public officials.

Mr. Kelly handled many of Teneo’s biggest accounts, personally advising the leaders of

General Electric Co.


Coca-Cola Co.

, and new business often went through him, according to current and former Teneo employees. Another prominent co-founder,

Doug Band,

a former top aide to former President

Bill Clinton,

left Teneo last year.

Ms. Burns expects to continue working with Teneo clients while adding corporate governance responsibilities. She also plans to work with Mr. Keary to focus on Teneo’s culture and issues such as the diversification of the workplace. Ms. Burns is also a board member at

Exxon Mobil Corp.


Uber Technologies Inc.

Ms. Burns became the first Black woman to head a Fortune 500 company when she was named Xerox’s CEO in 2009 and has often credited it for making diversity a priority for more than half a century. She left Xerox in 2016 and later worked as CEO and chairwoman of the telecommunications company

Veon Ltd.

Write to Chip Cutter at [email protected]

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