Ian Russell was CEO of BCX, South Africa’s largest technology company, with a turnover of $2bn, and an employee base of 10,000. Russell’s tenure saw a focused re-engineering of the company, simplifying the core of the business, creating new technology capabilities, and a massive shift of the brand towards innovation and disruption.
Prior to this, Ian Russell was at Telkom, part of the ExCo and at the heart of the turnaround. He was accountable for every aspect of cost across the Telkom business. Procurement, supply chain, property and people costs were all tackled systemically and with great effect. The resurgence of the Telkom business was predicated on the transformation of the cost base during this time.
Before Telkom, Ian Russell was at SABMiller and led the migration of the procurement activity from being an in-country South African operation, to a global one based in Switzerland.
Russell spent eight years at Barclays, working across operations, procurement and technology. These included roles running the Barclays African back-office, creating and leading the world’s first ‘smartsourcing’ approach to cost re-engineering, and ending up as Barclays’ Global CIO, a role which led him to Absa.
Ian Russell was also one of the initial architects of the acquisition of Absa by Barclays in 2005, and emigrated to South Africa to help oversee and manage the post merger integration. During his time at Absa, Ian focused mainly on re-engineering the cost base, and led the highly innovative ‘One Absa’ programme.
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