Chief of Comsat Video resigns after home-view plan is halted

January 07, 1992|By Leslie Cauley

Robert J. Wussler, president and chief executive officer of Comsat Video Enterprises, the video unit of Communications Satellite Corp., will resign effective Jan. 31, the company said yesterday.

Mr. Wussler, reached at his Clarksburg office yesterday, said he had decided to leave the company by "mutual agreement." The former television executive said his decision was driven, in part, by Comsat's decision to stop developing a plan to sell pay-per-view programming to the home.

Mr. Wussler said he has already begun speaking with "a number of traditional television" businesses about pursuing his long-time interest in broadcasting to the home market.

"I'll be here until Feb. 1, then I plan to plunge right in to follow up on things I know are possible," Mr. Wussler said yesterday.

Mr. Wussler, a 21-year veteran of the broadcasting industry and former president of the CBS Television Network, was recruited from Turner Broadcasting in August 1989 to help Comsat's money-losing video unit.

Mr. Wussler was the driving force behind Comsat's decision to buy a professional basketball team, the Denver Nuggets. At the time, Mr. Wussler said he expected the acquisition to lead to lucrative programming deals for Comsat Video.

But the unit continued to founder, and large-scale programming deals -- sports-related and otherwise -- failed to materialize.

Comsat Video struggled last year to show a consistent profit after suffering an operating loss of $124.6 million on revenues of $52.1 million in 1990. The company earned $900,000 in the second quarter, which ended June 30, 1991, but had an operating loss of $100,000 in the next quarter.

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