Xerox reveals post-split names and highlights separation risk

As Xerox inches towards breaking into two standalone listed companies at the end of this year, it has unveiled the names of the post-split businesses.

The $11bn (£7.8bn) document technology business, which includes its graphics operation, will retain the Xerox name. The $7bn Business Processing Outsourcing business will be rebranded 'Conduent'.

Speaking in an interview at Drupa, Xerox chairman and chief executive Ursula Burns, who will become chairman of the document business post-split, said that the document operation was always going to be called Xerox.

“Xerox means in the world, not just our company, not just quality, but also the printing of documents because we actually created the term Xerography and the fundamental technology behind it.”

In a statement, the company said the Conduent name reflected its position as a partner of businesses and government.

“The name Conduent is inspired by the new company’s expertise in connecting clients and their constituents through seamless transactions at massive scale in areas such as customer care, transportation solutions, and healthcare payer and provider services.”

After the split, the Conduent business will have circa 96,000 staff worldwide and, according to Xerox it will have the second largest market share in the BPO sector.

Ashok Vemuri was recently named the chief executive of Conduent. He will join the business next month.

Burns said that over the coming months Xerox will invest in the positioning of the new brand to ensure that when the split happens it will be well positioned for the future.

“There are certain things that won’t change, there are certain thing where the positioning will be identical: ethical behavior, diversity and innovation – creating value by investing in appropriately risky, game changing thoughts,” she said.

“But it’s also a BPO company so we’re going to have to have positioning around that - we also have to re-emphasise and in some way narrow the focus of the Xerox brand around document technology, workflow and document management.”

The new chief executive of the post-split, 39,000 staff Xerox document technology is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Speaking at Drupa, Burns extoled the benefits of the business being split into two businesses – but also highlighted the risk.

“The risk is getting wrapped up in the internal [things]. The split is work, you really have to do stuff, you have to decide who’s going to sit in building A and who’s going to sit in building B, and these things will be decided behind a curtain.

“You don’t talk about these things until near the end and if we get so wrapped in the technicalities of the separation and lose sight that we’re there to create value over the long term and engage shareholders and customers, then it can be a problem.”

However, she said that the business had a team dedicated to managing the “mechanics” of the split and was confident the process would be a smooth one that delivers on its goals.


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