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Ian Russell Ovation SA profile image

Ian Russell

Author - Speaker - Advisor - Economy - Development

Ian Russell remains firmly focused on sustainable and responsible development of the economy, and sits on a number of not-for-profit Boards and advisory groups, focused on leveraging technology and education for the benefit of the youth of South Africa.


Ian Russell’s recent bestselling book, The Other End of the Telescope, highlighted the insights gained from over 25 years of working in senior positions in organisations all around the world. The book shines a spotlight on the absurdities of getting things done in large organisations and suggests a number of pragmatic solutions to improve the trajectory of both your business and your career.

Ian Russell’s keynote speeches focus on the positive power of disruption, change and the critical importance of maintaining your personal relevance as your business seeks to redefine its role in an everchanging world. Ian draws on his experiences as a CEO and multiple senior leadership roles to highlight practical and meaningful things that can be done to change the dynamics of organisations and their teams.

Ian Russell is also the CEO and Founder of Disrupting Consultancy Pty, a boutique advisory company focused on the power of positive disruption and digital tools to create a whole new clock speed and performance trajectory for your business.

Ian Russell’s last large corporate role was as CEO of BCX, Africa’s largest technology company, with a turnover of around $2bn and a workforce numbering 10,000 employees. During his time at BCX, Ian Russell embarked on an ambitious programme to re-invent the business as a major digital, cloud and software services provider.
Ian Russell is perhaps best known for joining the troubled, virtually bankrupt South African telecommunications company, Telkom, in 2014 and being a key part of its inspirational turnaround, leading change in all areas of its operations and overseeing radical overhauls to its business, people and culture.

Prior to Telkom, Ian Russell worked locally and globally for SABMiller on its drive towards globalisation, and a new long-term operating model for the business.

Ian Russell arrived originally in South Africa in 2005, as a member of the Barclays Bank Mergers & Acquisition team that led the acquisition of Absa, and he stayed on at Absa to ensure the success of the post-acquisition integration activities.