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Octavian Donnelly

Octavian Donnelly


​About Octavian Donnelly

Octavian Donnelly is an experienced Consultant in the Risk (Financial and Non-Financial), Operations & Change desk at Rutherford, a London-based recruitment firm that specialises in compliance, financial crime, legal, risk, operations and cyber security searches within professional and financial services.

Throughout his career, Octavian has launched the London Blockchain Week, co-authored the first wide-scale economic profile of Sierra Leone and led a multinational expansion for a managed services delivery company based out of West Africa.

With more than 8 years of experience, Octavian is Rutherford's Risk, Operations & Change Lead and specialises in placing Executive-level candidates within the professional and financial services sectors in London.

What changes have you seen in the Risk & Operations space in recent years? In your opinion, how are they going to affect to future of the function?

Risk & Operations fall within the world of what was traditionally known as the back and middle office. Some of the first functions to get cut in a downturn, and the last to be rebuilt during an upturn – until things go wrong! Risk is a multi-disciplinary space that covers a wide variety of functions in financial services – from Market and Investment Risk analysts through Quant Risk researchers and developers to Enterprise and Operational Risk specialists. Alongside compliance, legal and security functions, Risk & Operations have started to take an increasingly important position in firms’ hierarchy, tying everything together.

As Regulators place greater focus on firms’ Risk controls and functions, we are seeing the vertical increase in importance, and the war for talent in Risk and Operations is heating up. The former is seeing compensation levels begin to rival previously out of touch front office teams, the latter very much pulling itself up the ladder to sit comfortable alongside its counterparts in legal and Compliance in particular.

How do you define success?

Success is measured in different ways, but I find that it most often manifests as follows. When you are in a position where you are constantly learning and evolving from a position of confidence and security. Whether that means you are expanding your personal and professional skills and knowledge or are enabled by your development to reward yourself – success leaves you feeling energised and ready to meet and overcome the next challenge.

​Professionally, success in my career has taken me to work in a dozen economies (G20 and Emerging Markets) across 4 continents. More recently it has led to the successful opening of Rutherford’s Cyber & Information Security practice and now Risk & Operations.

How do your values guide the way you work?

I have always enjoyed enabling others to achieve their full potential. This drives my approach to any problem-solving situation. Executive Search is a classic area in which we as consultants enable others to develop their own skills and provide business growth solutions to our clients.

Whilst I hesitate to use the word karma – I believe that what goes around comes around. You need to treat clients and candidates with the same duty of care as you would offer yourself, and expect from others.

What can colleagues – and friends – expect when they’re around you?

They will never lack for a story or something to talk about.

What’s the most unexpected thing you ever did?

Move to Sierra Leone.