Ursula Burns Headlines Prism NYU Fundraiser Luncheon
NEW YORK—June 14, 2013—Heavy rainfall didn’t dampen the spirits of the 430 printing and publishing industry leaders who attended the 2013 Prism Award Luncheon at the elegant Gotham Hall here on June 13. More than $5 million has been raised during the past 27 years of the annual event to fund student scholarships for New York University’s Master of Arts in Graphic Communications Management and Technology degree program. There are now 650 graduates of the program.
Guy Gecht, CEO of EFI, presented the Prism Award for distinguished leadership to Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns. During her acceptance speech, Burns briefly recounted her 33-year career with Xerox starting out as a mechanical engineering summer intern, before progressively moving up within the organization. She was named CEO in July of 2009 and, shortly after, made the largest acquisition in Xerox history: the $6.4 billion purchase of Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), catapulting the company’s presence in the $500 billion business services market and extending Xerox’s reach into the diverse area of business process and IT outsourcing.
Burns also noted that Xerox is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the invention of Xerography by Chester Carlson. Still thought of as the “the Copier Company,” she pointed out that Xerox hasn’t manufactured a standalone copier since 2007.
Burns noted five key transformations taking places within the printing industry at large and within Xerox. First, is the integration of offset and digital printing processes, and how the “Business of Printing” is shifting from mass communication to personalization. She also discussed the trend toward a more productive workflow, which usually incorporate multiple workflows. In addition, Burns noted how “the cloud” is creating new opportunities for information sharing and storage, but said we still need to figure out the best ways to use it.
“Inkjet (printing) will lead the way for a long time,” Burns also proclaimed, despite Xerox’s rich history, and current infrastructure, in toner-based digital printing. “Now, inkjet is part of every [customer] conversation,” she added, noting Xerox’s recent acquisition of Impika, which expands its product portfolio into the aqueous-based production inkjet printing space.
Her final point was the need for driving more simplicity, both in terms of customer interaction and with Xerox’s business process offerings.
Like Gecht, Burns also has a child currently enrolled at New York University. As such, Burns quipped that—with the tuition payments she’s currently making to the school for her daughter’s education—the Prism luncheon was the first “free meal” she had received from NYU.