As a reporter, editor, foreign correspondent and our Ottawa Bureau Chief, Rob Russo has always been one of the most exceptional journalists to ever work for The Canadian Press. Earlier today, Rob announced to his staff that he intends to step down in the coming weeks to pursue new career opportunities.
“CP's prospects are brighter than they have been in years,” Rob told me. “Our hard work over the past several years is now bearing fruit. The Ottawa bureau is recognized as one of the best news teams in the country. It's a good moment to step back and think about trying something else after a glorious ride.”
Rob would be the first to agree with me that the culture all of us at CP have established means success is dependent not on the individual, but on a group of individuals coming together as one team. While I'm sure you’re just as sad as I am that Rob is leaving CP, we are lucky he has helped build a legacy of excellence and a team that is ready and extremely able to carry on the type of journalism that has made our Ottawa report the best in the industry.
Rob joined CP after the company took over the operations of United Press Canada in 1985. He started with us in Toronto, was a great parliamentary reporter in Ottawa, served as our Montreal English Bureau Chief, covered the tumultuous Clinton years in Washington and then came back to Canada as Ottawa Bureau Chief in 2003. He has transformed the bureau into the nonpareil news machine on Parliament Hill. This was evident again this weekend when reporters Heather Scoffield and Jim Bronskill were both nominated in the National Newspaper Awards Beats category and Jim and Steve Rennie competed against each other for the “Scoop of the Year” at the Canadian Association of Journalists awards.
CP has been through many changes over the last few years as the industry we serve has changed. Rob, however, has refused to change one thing: a demand that The Canadian Press pursue excellence on a daily basis. He has been an inspiration to me for 25 years and he’s served as a mentor, motivator and friend to staff from one end of this country to the other.
There’s a term in the business world called Level 5 Leadership. Rob Russo is a textbook example of such a leader. Level 5 leaders are calm under pressure; care most about the people who work for them, have an absolute conviction that success is attainable and an unwavering resolve to get results. Level 5 leaders also give all the credit to others because they possess humility. But most importantly, Level 5 leaders develop their organization so it will be even more successful in the future after they leave. Rob has indeed done that.
We will begin our search for a new Ottawa Bureau Chief very soon, but today belongs to Rob. Please join me in wishing him and his family – Micheline, Peter and Olivia – nothing but success in the future.