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Cable Center Turns to Daniels' Robert Russo

Robert Russo — a member of The Cable Center's board of directors and executive committee — was selected by his fellow directors as the organization's CEO, a post recently vacated by Jim O'Brien.

Russo, who was executive vice president of marketing of the marketing and administration group at investment bank Daniels & Associates, was the point man for cable pioneer Bill Daniels in the early stages of the center's development.

He helped oversee the center's move from State College, Pa., to Denver and was instrumental in raising millions of dollars in initial capital, which solidified the organization's existence and laid the foundation for the more than $50 million it has raised to date.

"Bob has been one of our most active volunteer leaders at The Cable Center since its inception," Cable Center board chairman and Bresnan Communications president Bill Bresnan said in a statement. "The board of directors and I are confident that he is the ideal candidate to lead the organization and represent the center as an ambassador to all facets of the industry. "

Russo said the executive committee had interviewed several internal candidates and started discussions during a day-long Feb. 11 meeting on several outside candidates, when Bresnan approached him about the job. It was a clean fit.

"I know all of the donors personally and I'm very excited about the challenge of prioritizing the Center's projects," Russo said.

Those projects include the continued development of educational, training, research and communication programs, such as the C-SPAN Distance Learning Program, the Chinese Executive Media Management Program and the Oral and Video History Program.

"We've got to be strategic about getting the breakthrough programs to demonstrate the value to the industry and society in a global setting," Russo said. "We want to see the needle of public opinion move forward in the next few years."

In addition, Russo said, "We need to raise an additional $20 million in an environment that is much more difficult."

Russo said he wants to build a first-class Web site so cable employees around the world can have a point of reference for the benefits of cable technology and content.

Among the other goals Russo has set for himself: establishing outreach programs for the cable industry's new generation of entrepreneurs.

"We want to help young managers to understand the implications of their decisions on the reputation of the industry," he said. "It will help them establish values, integrity and accountability in terms of customers.

"As technology gets more complex, cable has a defining role in communication globally," Russo added. "We want to put a lot of time and attention on the outreach program."