Thursday, May 28, 2009

Corporate Negroes: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

One thing that sorta pisses me off about Obamania is that the furor surrounding it seems to in many ways indicate that uber-achieving black folks are some newfangled phenomenon. Not at all true. Black folks have been CEO's of real corporations for years. Sistas are running Ivy League universities. We've been Rhodes Scholars.

Eff' a NewBo.

For every step forward, there's always gotta be a step back. Two recent stories only served to illuminate this strange Negro dynamic.
Xerox has named Ursula Burns as its new chief executive officer, making her the first African American woman to run a Fortune 500 company. Burns will take over on July 1, 2009, replacing Anne Mulcahy.

The 50-year-old new boss worked her way up the corporate ladder from a summer internship in 1980 to the CEO position. She has also been a member of the board of directors since 2007.

After beginning as a mechanical engineering summer intern at Xerox, Burns went on to work for the company in product development and planning. From 1992 through 2000, she led several business teams including the office color and fax business and office network printing business. In 2000, she was named senior vice president, Corporate Strategic Services, heading up manufacturing and supply chain operations.

Burns led Xerox's global research and product development, marketing and delivery and in April 2007 was named president of Xerox, expanding her leadership to include the IT organization, corporate strategy, human resources, corporate marketing and global accounts.

A graduate of Polytechnic Institute of NYU, Burns also holds a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. She serves on several professional and community boards, including American Express, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, MIT, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the University of Rochester.
Since I ended my Black Enterprise subscription years ago, I wouldn't know Ursula Burns if she walked in my office right now, but it's hard to not be very proud of this latest breakthrough. Kudos, sista. Now, we just need a black female Governor, and a sista on the Supreme Court. I'm not holdin' my breath on that last one though. We all know Barack is choosing the path of least resistance, also more commonly known as a white woman for that SCOTUS spot.

Now, the bad news: Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons (who once also ran AOL/Time Warner), a guy whom I've always admired, is now in some hot water for (what else?) not keepin' it in his pants.
It's no secret that Citigroup board Chairman Richard Parsons has been working for months to repair the financial giant.

But, until now, even his closest associates didn't know he also was wrestling with a personal crisis - how to tell his wife and three children he has fathered a child with another woman.

Parsons and model-philanthropist MacDella Cooper are the parents of a baby girl named Ella.

The 61-year-old former Time Warner chairman said only: "This is a private matter, and I prefer not to talk about it at this time."

Cooper, 32, also declined to discuss the circumstances of her daughter's birth.

"My private life is private," the striking beauty said. "I'm sure you can draw your own conclusions."

Cooper gave birth last August, according to a source, who said Parsons will support the child and has set up a trust fund for her education.

Having attended benefits for the foundation, Parsons was regularly seen going into Cooper's midtown apartment building, where she lives and works, a source said.

Parsons is due to mark his 31st wedding anniversary with his wife, the former Laura Ann Bush, in August. They have three grown children: Gregory, Leslie and Rebecca.
Look, I'm not gonna get all over this dude for having a side-piece. He ain't my Daddy. But seriously, how "typical" is this? You're a 60 year old exec at the top of your game. You've had a long (albeit possibly not happy) marriage. You got grown kids. You're so much better than this, Mr. Parsons.

It also makes me wonder: is there any famous married Black man who hasn't stepped out on his wife? Martin. Malcolm. Cosby. Jordan. Kobe. Shaq. Sharpton. Parsons. Henry Lyons. Sam Jackson. Morgan Freeman. Ben Chavis. Jesse Jackson. The list goes on and on.

Are Negroes just genetically predisposed to f*ck things up? And if so, does that make a faithful brother like me some weird subspecies? I just don't get it.[1]

But I digress. Let's celebrate Mrs. Burns' accomplishment, which, while it won't get any pub, is just as much a part of history as what happened January 20th. More Ursula Burnses & Ruth Simmonses, less Sapphyris and Hoopzes! Yay!

In the meantime, keep it in your pants, Dick.

Question: Is Ursula Burns' accomplishment groundbreaking, or is Corporate achievement simply not as "sexy" as politricks, sports, and entertainment? Are "successful" black men genetically predisposed to creepin'?

Ursula Burns: The first black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company [DailyVoice]

Love tangle for power broker: Citigroup's Richard Parsons has love child with model MacDella Cooper [NYDailyNews]

[1] Yeah, I know. "Successful" white men creep too. Understood, but we ain't talkin' about them.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.