David Russell will move back into the education sector, joining Pearson after having led PraxisAuril as chief executive for the past year.

David Russell

David Russell, chief executive of PraxisAuril — the UK-based professional association for knowledge exchange staff — is stepping down to join publishing and education company Pearson.

Russell will become senior director, government relations UK for Pearson in March. It will mark the end of a relatively short tenure at the helm of PraxisAuril, a position he took on in March 2023.

PraxisAuril has selected board member Stuart Wilkinson to become interim CEO. Wilkinson is currently assistant director of innovation and engagement at the University of Oxford.

Announcing his move on LinkedIn, Russell said: “I have hugely enjoyed my year as CEO at PraxisAuril and I would like to thank the board and all the fabulous executive team and associates for their amazing work over the last 12 months.

“Knowledge Exchange is an exciting and dynamic area of work with great importance for the challenges of our age — social, economic and environmental — and it has been a privilege to lead the national professional body through a period of change. I will be sorry to leave.”

However, Russell added that he was looking forward to returning to the curriculum and qualifications sector at a time when education policy is facing both challenges and opportunities given the UK will hold a general election later this year.

Before joining PraxisAuril last year, Russell had been an executive-in-residence at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School on behalf of the Education and Training Foundation, of which he had previously been CEO from 2014 to 2022.

His career has also included stints as governor of several primary schools and colleges since 2000. He also spent nearly 16 years in various positions working for the Department for Education between 1998 and 2014.

Russell added: “Pearson holds a great amount of Knowledge itself that can be leveraged for public benefit, and I am looking forward to playing my part in providing the policy and delivery solutions that meet the needs of learners, employers, universities and government in my new role.”

Wilkinson commented: “Throughout my career, I have always appreciated the impact PraxisAuril has had on the profession. I am very much looking forward to building on the transformation programme and bringing to life the strategy that will enable PraxisAuril to continue to play its crucial role in supporting the profession to have significant positive impacts on society and the economy.”

Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).