How Russ Shaw got ahead

Company: O2

Title: Capability & Innovation Director

What made you get into marketing:

I hated being an accountant.

How did you get into the industry:

I have a BSc from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA from
Harvard…after spendi…

Company: O2

Title: Capability & Innovation Director

What made you get into marketing:
I hated being an accountant.

How did you get into the industry:
I have a BSc from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA from Harvard…after spending a summer marketing Gatorade for Quaker Oats, American Express was willing to take a chance on me in an advertising and media role with limited experience.

What was good and bad about my first job:
My first boss was very inspirational – she was leading a business and attempting to turn it around, with lots of innovative ways of doing so. In terms of what was bad, I was marketing accidental death and dismemberment products. It doesn’t get more grim than that.

Jobs to date:
Various roles at American Express, Charles Schwab, NTL, Mobileway (now Mobile365) and O2.

Best and Worst:
Being chief executive of Mobileway (venture capital-backed start-up) was both the best and worst. The best bits: I was the boss! The worst bits: there was no one else but me to blame.

Who has been my biggest inspiration:
Those who have overcome significant adversity to excel at what they do; people like Lance Armstrong inspire me.

Who in the industry do I most admire:
I think the handset manufacturers have done a great job of turning mobile phones into fashion icons.

What is my biggest achievement to date:
Keeping my sanity (well, sort of) in an ever-changing business world.

On what do you base success so far:
The diversity of opportunities and challenges that I have faced during my career. Long may it continue.

What are your ambitions:
To keep enjoying what I do, and I aim to spend more time with my family and friends.

Change one thing about your job:
Commuting to Slough!

Change one thing about your industry:
Insane pricing and complicated tariffs.

Change one thing about the world:
I think a new administration is badly needed in the White House (very long overdue).

What is your favourite brand:
I love Green & Black’s (dark chocolate) and also Ian Schrager Hotels.

What is the next big brand:
LG (it’s big but will become even bigger, especially in Europe).

List your media diet:
The Guardian, International Herald Tribune, Economist, Evening Standard, The Week, Time Out, and, of course, Marketing Week.

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