His appointment follows the departure of Paul Shearer, the former global executive creative director, who left to set up Arnold UK alongside Nitro's former managing director Johan Fourie in May.
Russell, who joins in the autumn, will oversee creative output across Nitro's client portfolio including Mars, Footlocker and Drambuie, as well as sit on the board. He will report to the agency's managing director, Kate Howe.
Russell's is the latest in a succession of senior hires at Nitro. Earlier this month, it appointed Bobby Hui, Saatchis' former international planning director, and Jason Coward, the former managing director of WCRS, to the roles of executive planning director and executive business growth director respectively.
Before joining Saatchis in 2007, Russell's career has included stints as a creative director at Wieden & Kennedy and Ogilvy Advertising.