Advertising giant Publicis ends all business and investment in Russia


Publicis Groupe has announced that it is ceasing all business and investments in Russia by handing over control of its agencies to local management.  

The French multinational has given control of its operations in the country to Sergey Koptev, the founding chairman of Publicis in Russia, “with the clear contractual condition of ensuring a future for employees there” the group said.  

The world’s third-largest advertising firm had faced questions over its decision to remain active in the Russian market despite the mass exodus of Western brands following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.  

The CEO and chairman Arthur Sadoun addressed these concerns in a statement on Monday, saying: “Since the start of the invasion, we have been working on exiting Russia as we strongly condemn the unilateral aggression against Ukraine.” 

“We were committed to taking strong actions that fully respond to the gravity of the situation. But we were determined to take the necessary time to come up with a solution that was truly people-first, because our 1,200 employees in Russia are our people, too. 

“We couldn’t just abandon them. By ceding control of our Russian operations to Sergey, we are securing a future path for our colleagues while immediately stopping all our operations, engagement and investment in Russia.” 


Publicis also highlighted its focus on the safety of its Ukrainian employees, confirming its commitment to bring them “the security, relocation and financial support they need in this incredibly difficult time.” 

Sadoun added that Publicis was in “daily contact” with all 350 of its employees in Ukraine, offering psychological and mental health support alongside guaranteeing their salaries for the year.  

In an internal video released in conjunction with his statement, the CEO once again condemned the Russian state’s “aggression of Ukraine” and added that Publicis “fully supports the sanctions from across the international community.” 

Sadoun also argued that the delay in exiting the country had been down to the company not wanting to “abandon” its Russian employees “with a short email and a few roubles in compensation, those are not our values.” 

Publicis follows other major advertising firms in pulling out of Russia, London-based WPP were the first to take such action on 4 March, with American giant IPG following suit on 14 March.  

Acting for our people in Ukraine and Russia 

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