Publicis Groupe is stopping its business and investments in Russia by ceding the ownership of its agencies to local management, effective immediately. The Groupe is handing over control of its Russian operations to Sergey Koptev, founding chairman of Publicis in Russia, with the clear contractual condition of ensuring a future for employees there.

Arthur Sadoun, CEO and chairman of Publicis Groupe, said since the start of the invasion, the agency network has been working on exiting Russia as it strongly condemns 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 1200 employees in Russia are our people too. We couldn’t just abandon them," he said.

Sadoun explained that by ceding control of its Russian operations to Sergey, it is securing a future path for its colleagues while immediately stopping all of its operations, engagement, and investment in Russia.

As the violence and humanitarian crises in Ukraine deepen, Sadoun said Publicis’ first priority remains the safety of its people and their families. "The Groupe is more committed than ever to bringing them the security, relocation and financial support they need in this incredibly difficult time," he added.

The Groupe is in daily contact with all 350 of its employees in Ukraine on an individual basis and doing everything it can to protect them. From security alert systems, to psychological and mental health support, to help with visas, or guaranteeing salaries for everyone for the entire year, Sadoun said the agency network will continue to stand by their side, be exhaustive in the solutions it brings, and immediate in the aid it provides.

The Groupe's decision comes shortly after IPG decided to pull out of Russia, following in the footsteps of WPP  and  Accenture .

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