The Ri5 profile: Roger Russell, Penna

The Ri5 profile: Roger Russell, Penna


Roger Russell is executive director, search at Penna. He began his career in marketing and communication, with senior positions in both the public and private sector before roles at PwC and Capita.

He joined Penna in October last year to support the growth of the business with a particular focus on C-suite and board appointments with a particular focus on government and life sciences.

He graduated from Loughborough University and has a post graduate Diploma in Marketing. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management and a member of the Penna Public Sector Advisory Board. He is married to a New Yorker and has three sons who unfortunately do not share his passion for Leeds United.

How did you first get into the industry?

Like many colleagues, by accident. I was about to take up a corporate director role when I received a call out of the blue from someone I trusted and admired.

Would you do the same again?

Yes I think so. I don’t think any other profession would give the opportunity to meet and learn from so many outstanding leaders in their field. It has been truly inspiring.

What would you do if you didn’t do this?

Difficult to say. It would have to involve getting the best out of people.

Who are your favourite people from the industry?

There are too many to mention, especially at Penna, although there is one person in particular. Her name is Sharon Kerry - she is a one off. Upbeat, inspirational and devoted to helping others whether in the poorest areas of West Africa or in the day job with team members and candidates.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?

Don’t worry about the things you can’t control.

And what piece of advice would you give somebody starting out in the sector?

As above.

What’s your favourite recruitment ad?

I don’t have one!

And what’s your favourite non-recruitment ad?

Not sure it’s a favourite but the recent prostate cancer ad was funny and got the message across on so many levels - especially in our house!

You’re entertaining industry contacts. Where do you take them, and why?

It depends on the contact. The best feedback I had from clients followed an audience with Desmond Tutu, who explained how he managed to forgive those who had committed some of the worst atrocities in South Africa and how good always overcame evil. It was incredibly moving.

What are you reading at the moment?

Zero by Dan DeLillo

And what are you listening to?

A Head full of Dreams by Coldplay

Which guests would you invite to your ideal dinner party?

My wife and sons.

What are your top three films?

The Godfather, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Shawshank Redemption

Something or someone for Room 101?

Donald Trump

What items do you never leave home without?

Glasses, wallet, iPhone and keys

What’s your biggest achievement – career or otherwise?

Supporting my wife in bringing up three wonderful, well rounded boys who we are immensely proud of.

Who’s your biggest hero, and why?

Nelson Mandela for his sheer courage, and humanity.

What is your ideal holiday?

Relaxing in the sun with no phone, good food, good wine, a good book and the family.

Three words to describe yourself?

Flawed, optimistic, restless

Your best and worst habits?

Sharing Neuhaus Belgian Chocolate – and eating Neuhaus Belgian Chocolate

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Watching re-runs of Seinfeld and the West Wing on trains and planes.

What single fact would surprise people the most about you?

I once played against Liverpool during the Keegan era and three weeks before they played in the European Cup final. Emlyn Hughes and Tommy Smith kicked me from one end of the pitch to the other.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

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Julie Towers Date: Aug 5, 2016

A professional footballer in our I'm impressed Roger!