The last four years have been as Mercedes' motorsport strategy director, playing a pivotal role in the team winning eight consecutive constructors' titles.
Vowles, however, has now accepted one of Formula 1's most challenging tasks in attempting to revive the fortunes of a Williams team that has finished bottom of the constructors' standings in four of the last five seasons.
The 43-year-old started on Monday (February 20), with little opportunity to get a feel for the team ahead of the FW45 hitting the track in Bahrain this week for the pre-season test.
Vowles a great hire by Williams – Russell
“Firstly, I'm really happy for James,” said Russell, when asked by Speedcafe.com about Vowles' appointment.
“I think he thoroughly deserves the opportunity, and he's an incredibly hard worker.
“For us, personally, on a strategic level, when it came to race strategies, James had already sort of handed over his duties to others within the team.
“He was just overseeing, but actually, through all of last year, the decisions were being made by others, so in that regard, James has left us in very competent hands.”
As to what to expect at Williams, particularly in contrast to what he has encountered at Mercedes, Russell added: “I'm sure he's going to have a few surprises.
“Naturally, when you've you've spent so long at such a team (in Mercedes) with so many championships under its belt.
“But to be honest, I can't think of anybody better Williams could have hired for the job they need to undertake.”