WPP announces plans to exit Russia

KYIV, UKRAINE – Feb. 06, 2022: Territorial defense exercises amid the threat of a Russian military invasion of Ukraine. Military exercises for civilians in Kyiv, Ukraine

Today, WPP announced that it discontinuing its operations in Russia due to Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, which has created a humanitarian crisis in Europe.

It is the world’s largest advertising company, which includes agencies such as AKQABCWEssence GlobalFinsburyGreyHill+Knowlton StrategiesMindshareOgilvyWavemakerWunderman Thompson, and VMLY&R

In a statement issued today, the ad/PR holding company, which has nearly 1,400 people in Russia, thanked them for their service to clients. It promised to work closely with clients during the winddown of operations.

WPP has 200 staffers in Ukraine who “have shown extraordinary resilience and bravery in the face of the horrific attack on their country,” according to its statement. Below is the full statement:

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“WPP stands with Ukraine and the international community in condemning the Russian invasion, which has created a humanitarian crisis in the heart of Europe. The Board of WPP has concluded that WPP’s ongoing presence in Russia would be inconsistent with our values as a company, and we are therefore discontinuing our operations in the country.

WPP has nearly 1,400 people in Russia who have been dedicated and valued members of our organisation, and we thank them for their commitment to the company and our clients. We deeply regret the impact of this decision on our Russian colleagues. We will provide support to them and work closely with our clients and partners as we discontinue our activities in the country.

Our 200 people in Ukraine have shown extraordinary resilience and bravery in the face of the horrific attack on their country, and we have been inspired by their example and the outpouring of support from their colleagues in the region and worldwide. We are in constant contact with our leaders in Ukraine to provide financial and other forms of practical assistance for our employees.

WPP has partnered with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to run an emergency fundraising appeal to help people forced to flee their homes in search of safety in other parts of Ukraine or neighbouring countries. We are also match-funding all donations by WPP employees.”

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Beginning with missile launches and tanks rolling relentlessly, Russia’s premeditated military action began in east Ukraine on February 24. This occurred after months of speculation about Russia’s intentions after it massed tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine’s border.