Ian Russell

The short story...

2017 - 2018


Ian was CEO of BCX, South Africa's largest technology company, with a turnover of c $2bn, and an employee base of 10,000.  Ian'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.  BCX Disrupt was his baby.

2014 - 2017


Part of the ExCo and at the heart of the turnaround, Ian 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.

2010 - 2013


Ian led the migration of the procurement activity from being an in-country South African operation, to a global one based in Switzerland.  Ian was integral to the design and execution of this ground breaking model.

2005 - 2010


Ian was 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.

1997 - 2005


There are few operations, procurement or technology roles that Ian did not perform over the years. 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. 

1992 - 1997

Ford Motor Company

A fast track graduate programme entrant, Ian focused on supply chain, process re-engineering and procurement activities, working across Europe and the US. A fully qualified Kaizen and Value Analysis/Value Engineering facilitator.

Academic Qualifications:

BSc Hons (Economics) - University of Wales

MBA - University of Birmingham


RECENT Board memberships

Christel House

Board Member since 2017, Christel House is a 1,000 pupil school, located in the Western Cape, and part of the Christel House Group, focused on breaking the cycle of poverty through education.



Global Board member of the #iamthecode movement, supported by the WEF among others, focused on getting 1 million girl coders into employment by 2030.


Telkom Foundation

Board member and Trustee from 2014 to 2018.  The Telkom Foundation is focused on sustainable education solutions for the disadvantaged.


Pridwin Preparatory School

Trustee and Board member 2015-2016.  Pridwin is a well know preparatory school for boys, based in Johannesburg.



Ian believes strongly in the power of education to break the current cycle of poverty and low economic growth.

According, he focuses much of his time and energy helping multiple not for profit organisations.

Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi)

Board member of CiTi, South Africa's oldest and most established incubator and tech development hub.  Now tightly focused on EdTech, FinTech and TravelTech ecosystems and start-ups.