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WPP and Accenture to Discontinue All Activities in Russia

London, UK
An internal note from CEO Mark Read says that “to continue operating in Russia would be inconsistent with our values as a company” while Accenture donates $5 million to nonprofit relief organizations , writes LBB’s Addison Capper

WPP, the world's largest advertising holding company, will be discontinuing all business activities in Russia, as will consultancy Accenture.

In a note sent to all WPP employees, CEO Mark Read said that the company had over the last week been carefully considering the future of its agencies in Russia and what its actions would mean for its nearly 1,400 people there. "We have concluded that to continue operating in Russia would be inconsistent with our values as a company," he says. "This means that over the next few weeks and months, we will discontinue our activities in the country.

"Our Russian colleagues have been dedicated and valued members of the WPP family for a long time and I deeply regret the impact this decision will have on them."

The note continues to say that WPP will work with its people, clients and partners to "consider all options", including transfer of ownership and divestment, and that it will provide additional and enhanced financial support to anyone who loses their employment as a result of this decision. Local agency leaders are said to be discussing next steps with their teams directly. 

"The world has watched the invasion of Ukraine with growing horror and disbelief," he says. "WPP stands with Ukraine and the international community in condemning this unjustifiable aggression, which has created a humanitarian crisis in the heart of Europe."

A press release from WPP added that WPP's 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". WPP is in constant contact with our leaders in Ukraine to provide financial and other forms of practical assistance for our employees.

The note from Mark Read ends with a thank you to the "thousands" who have already donated to a UNHCR appeal set up by WPP agency Blue State to help people forced to flee the fighting in Ukraine. WPP has been matching all donations from WPP employees and will continue to do so. The appeal remains open here:

Meanwhile, Accenture put out a release on Friday afternoon revealing that it too would be discontinuing its business in Russia. Accenture's presence in Russia includes 2,300 employees. While Accenture does not have a presence in Ukraine, it does have Ukrainian employees around its network and has pledged to support them. The release says:

"Accenture stands with the people of Ukraine and the governments, companies and individuals around the world calling for the immediate end to the unlawful and horrific attack on the people of Ukraine and their freedom. Therefore, Accenture is discontinuing our business in Russia.  We thank our nearly 2,300 colleagues in Russia for their dedication and service to Accenture over the years.  We will be providing support to our Russian colleagues. While Accenture does not have a business in Ukraine, we will continue our efforts to help our Ukrainian colleagues working around the globe at Accenture and their extended families; we are providing telehealth for those in Ukraine, and helping resettle family members who leave Ukraine.
"We are donating $5 million to nonprofit relief organizations working to help people in Ukraine and those who are being displaced into Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.  We are also matching 100% of the donations from our people."

For more ways to help Ukraine, click here.

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