Ursula Burns is appointed as VEON chairwoman

Natalie Bannerman
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VEON announces Ursula Burns, the first African-American woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, as chairwoman of its supervisory board

Former Xerox chief executive officer Ursula Burns has been named as the chairwoman for VEON’s supervisory board.

Speaking on her new appointment Burns said: “I am delighted to be joining VEON as it executes on its strategy to reinvent the idea of what a telecoms company can be. This is a familiar challenge for me: I spent much of my career at Xerox transforming a previously highly successful but traditional business to meet the challenges of today's digital world. I am also looking forward to working with the board to continue to reinforce VEON's corporate governance and culture of compliance, and in guiding our management team to deliver the financial performance that will create long-term value for our shareholders."

Burns is the first African-American woman to act as chairman and CEO for a Fortune 500, her time at Xerox lasted from 2009 to 2016, during which time she oversaw the digital transformation of the company including the purchase of Affiliated Computer Services in 2010 for $6.4 billion, the company's largest acquisition to date. 

The move comes as the telecoms operator undergoes corporate governance reforms and re-branding as a global services company.

Burns takes over from long-standing former chairman Alexey Reznikovich who will remain on the board as a representative for LetterOne Investment, who owns a 48% stake in VEON.

Guy Laurence has also been named as an addition to the supervisory board, which in total, increases the number on the board from nine to eleven including the nine re-elected members.

Reznikovich commented on the new appointments saying: “Over the past two and a half years VEON has embarked on a transformational journey driven by our Global Leadership team. Today’s appointments represent another key milestone in this journey and we will look to continue to increase the independence of the Supervisory Board, ensuring it is aligned with global corporate governance best practice.  Ursula Burns is a highly-experienced businesswoman, with a proven track record in leading successful corporate transformations throughout her business career. I am delighted that she has become the new Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Guy Laurence is also an established global telecom executive having successful periods working at Rogers and Vodafone. I look forward to working with both Ursula and Guy over the coming years.”