Xerox CTO To Retire Following Company’s Split

Sophie V. Vandebroek will retire from her position as Xerox’ chief technology officer at the end of this year when Xerox completes its split into two independent companies.

Vandebroek, who has been with the company for 25 years and served as CTO for 10, broke the news of her plans in a posting on her LinkedIn page.

"While it is bittersweet to be leaving this wonderful organization that has brought me so much happiness for 25 years, I am looking forward to explor[ing] new challenges for the next couple decades of my professional life," she wrote.

[Related: Xerox Split to Cost Company $80M-100M Next Year]

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Vandebroek will be leaving the company immediately following the split that the printer and document management technology developer announced in January, weeks after activist investor Carl Icahn bought more than 7 percent of company's stock and began pressing the vendor to make operational improvements and consider strategic alternatives.

Xerox is set to divide into two publicly held companies, one named Conduent that will focus on business process outsourcing services, and the other – retaining the Xerox name – that will develop and sell printing and document management products.

"Over the last ten years, Xerox seems to have become more focused on software and service offerings like managed print services, allowing partners into their ecosystem to expand the reach they had prior,’ said Guy Baroan, founder of Xerox partner Baroan Technologies of Elmwood Park, N.J., in an email to CRN.

He added that Xerox’ expansion and innovations under Vandebroek allowed the company to become more successful in more diverse areas. Baroan said Vandebroek’s expansion of the company’s research and development offices was ’a great way to make sure that the company stay[ed] in the forefront of technology."

’I read that they are getting about 10 new patents a week. That is proof that what she did while at Xerox is working. Technology is constantly changing and relying on past successes is not a good way for the future. She assured Xerox success by not allowing them to fall behind,’ he said.

Baroan added that although Xerox has seen a large amount of innovation during Vandebroek’s time as CTO, he is not concerned that her exit from the company will stunt future technology advancements.

’I am sure that they have others that are ready to step into the CTO position and be ready to pick up where Sophie will be leaving off. Being a great company is a team effort. One person’s success is a collective effort of the team. So, I am not concerned,’ he said.

Joshua Justice, president of Southern Solutions, a La Plata, Md.-based Xerox partner, said in an email to CRN that Vandebroek’s impressive career with Xerox was inspiring, noting that he enjoyed hearing her speak about innovation and the future of the company.

’In her absence, I am sure other Xerox leaders will continue to emerge and continue the innovative path," he said. He added that Xerox channel partners will also continue to play a role in bringing to market new ideas and solutions that incorporate Xerox technology – he cited Southern Solutions' own application development for Xerox’ ConnectKey application platform as an example.

In May Ursula Burns, currently Xerox CEO, announced that she too would step down from her management post when the split is concluded. She plans to take up the role of board chairman at the new Xerox document technology company.

In June Xerox named Jeff Jacobson to be CEO of that business and appointed Ashok Vemuri, who began working for Xerox July 1, as CEO of Conduent. The new Xerox will employ about 39,000 while Conduent will have about 96,000 employees, according to Xerox. Both will be Fortune 500 companies.

Xerox's current Global Business Services division is ranked No. 9 on CRN’s 2016 Solution Provider 500 list.