Dentsu to exit Russia operation and transfer ownership to local JV partner

Japanese-owned group has 1,500 employees in Russia.

Dentsu logo
Dentsu International: transferring ownership of its joint venture in Russia

Dentsu International has announced it is in the process of transferring ownership of its joint venture in Russia to its long-term local partner, following the invasion of Ukraine.

The Japanese-owned agency group explained that it has been working with its partner in Russia for 25 years.

Dentsu said in a statement: "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."

Dentsu added that it "stands unequivocally with Ukraine and the global community who are calling for the restoration of peace" and stated that it will continue to prioritise the safety of its people and the needs of its clients.

In Ukraine, Dentsu operates via affiliation with a local partner and has 500 affiliate employees.

It continued: "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."

Dentsu International is the fourth of the big agencies to exit Russia as a result of the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

It was announced yesterday (15 March) that Publicis Groupe was cutting ties with Russia and handing over control of its agencies to local management.

On 4 March, WPP announced it was shutting its wholly owned operations in Russia. 

In addition, Interpublic, which has joint ventures with local partners and an affiliate relationship for media-buying, suspended its operations in Russia on 14 March.

Dentsu Group further said it will donate a further 100 million yen (£650,000) to help those people affected in Ukraine and the surrounding areas.

This is in addition to the £250,000 that was provided as urgent aid to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society on 25 February.

Omnicom is the biggest employer of the six agency groups in Russia and is yet to signal its intentions about the future of its joint venture operations.

“We have 2000 colleagues in Russia and are continually assessing the most appropriate course of action that takes into account the gravity of the situation and the welfare of our people,” a spokesperson has said.

Havas has an affiliate relationship but no employees in Russia.

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