P&G has suspended its Russian operations, including the removal of all advertising, media and promotional activity from the region following president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It has also opted to discontinue all new capital investments in Russia.
Chief executive Jon Moeller made the announcement in an all-staff letter published on its website today (March 8).
He said the company would support staff in Russia as they face “uncertainty for their futures,” but that “the situation necessitates important changes immediately and over time.”
“We are significantly reducing our product portfolio to focus on basic health, hygiene and personal care items needed by the many Russian families who depend on them in their daily lives. As we proceed with the reduced scale of our Russian operations, we will continue to adjust as necessary,” he said.
Russia had been a significant area of focus for the business. In 2019 it announced plans to invest $37m in its Russian operations that year alone and laid out plans to expand its distribution center and localize product production.
P&G said at a consumer conference last month that it employs 2,500 people in Russia.
According to Statista, it’s also one of the highest-spending advertisers in the country.
Moeller said that it had already suspended operations in Ukraine, where it has 500 staff, “to help protect our people locally.” It offered evacuation assistance as well as financial and logistical support and the provision of food, shelter and essential products for P&G staff and their families.
The impact of these efforts has resulted in a multi-million-dollar relief package of cash contributions and P&G products, including diapers, feminine care and other essentials, flowing to refugee families through the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies.
“We are further expanding these efforts, including the employee matching gift program,” Moeller added.
It comes after WPP, which counts P&G among its clients, also confirmed it would exit the region.
You can catch up on how other brands have reacted to the invasion here.