Robert P. Reuss, ’50
Corporate Award - 1985
Chairman and CEO
Robert P. Reuss received an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 1950.
He worked for Bell Systems for more than 30 years, beginning his career during the summer while still an undergraduate at the University of Illinois. After having served as lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he returned to Illinois Bell Telephone Company. In 1955, he was transferred to AT&T. There, he was promoted to assistant controller, then was called back to Illinois Bell as vice president of operations.
He joined Centel Corporation, rising to president and chief executive officer in 1972; in 1977, he was elected chairman of the board. During the difficult era of deregulation, Reuss was credited with putting Centel in the forefront of independent telephone companies through his strategy of diversifying from a position of strength. Because of the pacesetting performance of its CEO, Centel ranked among the fastest growing of the independent telecommunications companies.
Reuss was a governor of the Midwest Stock Exchange and served as a member of the Council on Chicago Booth. He brought his talents to the corporate boards of the American National Bank and Trust, Amsted Industries, CFS Continental Inc., National Can, Staley Continental, and Tellabs. In addition, he was a trustee of Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center, a member and president of Junior Achievement, and a director of the University of Illinois Foundation.
He received an honorary DBA from Blackburn College in 1976.