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Robert Russo, President and CEO, Nishan Systems

Robert Russo, Nishan Systems Inc.'s new president and CEO, has outlined his plans for the company, which includes hiring new executives, doubling the company's field sales force, raising more investment, and -- by mid-2004 -- floating Nishan on the public market (see Nishan Appoints CEO).

Prior to joining Nishan six weeks ago, Russo was senior VP at VA Software Corp. (formerly VA Linux) a company that also battled with how to turn market hype into reality. He helped build it into one of the largest independent Linux companies in business today [ed. note: though this may not really be saying much, as VA Software is still very much in the red].

Before that he served as a senior VP of worldwide field operations at Synopsys Inc. (Nasdaq: SNPS) where he was responsible for an organization of approximately 1,100 employees. He increased revenue from $170 million to nearly $800 million over a six-year period. Prior to that, Russo was general manager at Cray Research (Nasdaq: CRAY) and VP of north American sales for the now-defunct Stardent Computers.

It's just as well that Russo is accustomed to media hype and negative publicity from his days at VA Linux, because he's likely to get a bucketload of it as he embraces the dormant IP storage market.

In an interview with Byte and Switch Senior Editor Jo Maitland, Russo talks about whether the market attention and hype surrounding Linux bears any resemblance to the overblown predictions for IP storage in the past year, as well as Nishan's plans for an IPO.

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