Xerox’s Burns fires at Masters’ no-women policy

June 14, 2012

Xerox CEO Ursula Burns has some strong opinions on Augusta National Golf Club’s policy of not admitting women as members.

“It’s ridiculous, it’s just absolutely ridiculous,” said Burns at the Reuters Global Media and Technology Summit in New York on Thursday.

Burns was responding to a question about the controversy that erupted in April over whether the all-male club would invite IBM CEO Virginia Rometty, who is both Burns’ corporate acquaintance and competitor, to become its first female member. IBM, along with AT&T and Exxon Mobil, are the three major sponsors of the Masters golf tournament, and while the past four male CEOs of the technology company have been offered membership at Augusta, the same courtesy has not yet been extended to Rometty.

And while Rometty did attend the Masters, Burns said she wouldn’t even go to Augusta as a spectator if she was extended an invite to the esteemed golf tournament.

“The way I think about it is, the Masters can do what the hell they want,” Burns said. “If they want to actually have no women in the Masters, then women and right-minded men should make a choice about what the hell they want to do with the Masters. If they aren’t interested in having me there, why would I go?”

Burns did say, however, that she was speaking for herself and had no professional opinion about Rometty’s actions. Rometty herself had not commented publicly about the situation.

And it’s not like Xerox or Burns hate sports. Burns, an avid baseball fan, said her company is a proud sponsor of the Mets and United States Tennis Association, but doesn’t do “golf things.”

“If they came to me and asked me to sponsor the Masters—which they wouldn’t—the fact that they don’t let women in and I’m a woman, I wouldn’t sponsor them plain and simple.”




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