Big four consultancy firms withdraw from Russia and Belarus

Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC have joined a long list of companies in announcing their withdrawal from Russia as war intensifies with Ukraine.
Written by Julian Bingley, Contributor
Image: Getty Images

The big four consulting firms -- Deloitte, KPMG, EY and PwC -- have cut ties with firms responsible for Russian business in response to the country's invasion of Ukraine.

Operations in the region will not completely close down for the companies, but will instead be legally separated from the corporate structures of their respective firms to create separate entities in Russia and Belarus.

"We believe we have a responsibility, along with other global businesses, to respond to the Russian government's ongoing military attack on Ukraine. As a result, our Russian and Belarus firms will leave the KPMG network," a spokesperson for KPMG said.

Meanwhile, PwC released a statement outlining that its "main focus" will be to do all it can "to help our Ukrainian colleagues and support the humanitarian efforts to aid the people of Ukraine". Deloitte, the last of the firms to announce its withdrawal, shared similar sentiments as a spokesperson acknowledged that its Russian and Belarusian employees "have no voice in the actions of their government". 

"We will continue to prioritize the needs of our people and clients while we bring the full strength of Deloitte's global resources to bear in addressing the mounting humanitarian needs in Ukraine and across Europe," the company said.

The move will impact a significant number of employees across Russia and Belarus as KPMG has over 4,500 employees in the region, Deloitte employs 3,000, whilst EY and PWC have 4,700 and 3,700 employees respectively in Russia alone.

EY said the decision was heartbreaking, before adding that the firm "will work to support" those who lose their jobs whilst continuing to provide assistance to pre-existing clients.

KPMG justified the decision by stating the decision was not about the workers, but a consequence of the Russian government's actions.

"We are a purpose-led and values-driven organization that believes in doing the right thing," it said. 

These moves follow fellow consulting firm Accenture's action last week to entirely discontinue business in the region after Western nations imposed sanctions on Russia.

The sanctions have led numerous companies to judge the reputational and financial risks of continuing business in the region as too high. The consulting firms join a list including MasterCard, Visa, DXC, TikTok and Netflix in pulling out of the region since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

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