Dentsu is the latest holding company to announce it will be moving its operations out of Russia due to the ongoing invasion in Ukraine.
“In Russia, we have a long-term local partner who we have operated with for over 25 years," according to a statement by the company. “We are in the process of transferring ownership of our joint venture in Russia to this local partner, who will operate independently moving forward. More than 90% of the business in Russia services local clients. We have not made this decision lightly as we have 1,500 people in Russia who have supported Dentsu and our clients over many years.”
This sale will take affect “as soon as possible,” according to a spokeswoman. “Because 90% of the business is local, the intention [the partner] will continue to operate with those local clients and rebrand the business accordingly. Local owners and agency leaders on the ground in Russia will discuss what those next steps are," said the spokeswoman. The remaining 10% of its advertising in the region consists of clients that “mostly” have pulled out of the market, according to Dentsu.
While a Dentsu spokeswoman declined to name the local partner, she said that Dentsu’s sales in the region account for less than 3% of its overall sales.
The holding company also addressed its situation in Ukraine. “In Ukraine, we operate via affiliation with a local partner and we care deeply for the welfare of our 500 affiliate employees,” the company said in a statement. “Our Dentsu teams around the world, and particularly in EMEA, have stepped up to provide humanitarian support to those impacted in Ukraine including transporting team members and their families from Ukraine borders to Poland, securing job transfers and secondments to other areas in our network and providing legal and housing support.”
This follows a similar announcement from Publicis yesterday, which also transferred ownership of its Russian operations to a local partner, Sergey Koptev, founding chairman of Publicis in Russia. IPG also paused its operations in Russia earlier this week. WPP and Accenture were ahead of the pack, announcing the suspension of their business in the country earlier this month. A week later Stagwell also announced it will pause operations for its 10-person office in Russia.
Havas provided a statement yesterday claiming that while it doesn’t operate directly in Russia, it has a local partner in the country. “We have committed to freezing all new investments in the country until a peaceful resolution can be reached,” Havas said in a statement.
This leaves Omnicom as the sole holding company to not make statement about moving its business out of Russia. A few Omnicom agencies that have a presence in Russia include TBWA, DDB and OMD, according to their websites.
Dentsu will also donate a further 100 million yen or $844,600 to help people affected in Ukraine and the surrounding areas. This is in addition to the $275,000 that was already provided as urgent aid to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society on February 25.