Global consulting firms respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

08 March 2022 Consultancy.eu 6 min. read
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Many of the world’s largest consultancies have now severed ties with Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, while working to support their staff and others caught in the cross-hairs.

Accenture

Global tech consultancy Accenture has axed its entire workforce in Russia in response to what it describes as an unlawful and horrific attack on the people of Ukraine and their freedom, but will continue to provide support to its almost 2,300 workers in Russia.

While Accenture doesn’t have a Ukraine business, it will also provide support to its Ukrainian colleagues around the world and their extended families, through telehealth and resettlement services. The firm has also donated $5 million to non-profits aiding the tens of thousands of displaced, and will match all staff donations.

McKinsey & Company

McKinsey has said that it will cease its existing work with Russian state-owned entities and has stopped its work for the government. It will also refrain from taking on any new client work in Russia, and once its current engagements conclude it will suspend all client service in the country. Its Moscow office will however remain open to provide support to its 400-plus local colleagues.

The firm will also match donations from its staff at a rate of three to one, and is donating $2 million in cash and $10 million worth of pro bono aid to agencies supporting those impacted by the crisis.

Boston Consulting Group

BCG also employs about 400 people in Russia, and will suspend new work with Russian clients while honouring its current contractual obligations and keeping its Moscow office open. According to the Financial Times, a source familiar with the matter said that local staff would be offered the chance to relocate outside of Russia or will be able to work on internal projects for non-Russian clients.

The firm has also established a donation-matching program to charities supporting refugees, in particular the World Food Programme and Save the Children with which it has an existing relationship.

Bain & Company

While the consultancy itself appears not to have made an official statement in response to recent events, Bain & Company’s global managing partner Manny Maceda outlined on LinkedIn that the firm had already in 2020 decided not to take on further work from the Russian government at any level, be it central, state, or departmental, along with agreeing not to advise specific industries in the country such as the military and intelligence sectors.

Bain is still re-evaluating its work with other Russian clients, and is working around the clock to ensure the safety of its Kyiv-based staff.

Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman CEO Nick Studer has also spoken on behalf of the global management consultancy, making a commitment to its staff that the firm will not work with the Russian government’s state-owned organisations anywhere in the world. Studer also noted that the firm is providing financial support and expertise to the entrepreneurial initiatives of its staff in neighbouring countries who are aiding refugees, and in time would offer employment opportunities to those directly impacted.

Kearney

A native of Taiwan, Kearney global managing partner Alex Liu has acknowledged “the spectrum of passion and heartache related to issues of sovereignty”, and stated that the firm supports the sanctions imposed on Russia by governing bodies around the world and would not serve any Russian government entities.

Kearney is also currently reviewing all of its commitments and contracts with clients in Russia, and is doing what it can to support staff in both Ukraine and Russia.

Roland Berger

German-origin management consultancy Roland Berger, which in 2019 had to grapple with revelations of its eponymous founder’s father’s Nazi collaborations, has of the 1st of March ended all activity for Russian clients – stating that Europe was facing one of its darkest hours since the end of the Second World War and that the Russian president’s war cannot go on without business consequences.

Roland Berger is also supporting the relocation of its Ukrainian colleagues and their families.

DXC Technology

DXC Technology has taken a firm stand in condemning the Russian Government for its “unwarranted aggression” by committing to exit the Russian market entirely, where it has a headcount of almost 4,000. The tech consultancy will also match employee donations to humanitarian efforts twice over, including by providing direct financial support to its impacted colleagues and their families “regardless of their nationality or country of origin.”

FTI Consulting

A spokesperson from FTI Consulting, which doesn’t list a Russian office among its global locations but does conduct business in the country, told the Guardian that in addition to dumping sanctioned clients the firm was in the process of reviewing all of its ongoing connections with non-sanctioned entities and would withdraw from engagements where appropriate.

The spokesperson also stated FTI Consulting wouldn’t be taking on any new Russia-controlled clients for the time being.

PwC

Big Four professional services firm PwC is set to expel its Russian member, but will work with PwC Russia to undertake an orderly transition of the business out of concern for its 3,700 staff in the country. PwC Belarus will also exit the global network. Meanwhile, the firm is working to ensure the safety of its 750 employees spread across three offices in Ukraine, led by their colleagues in Central and Eastern Europe who have been providing support with transportation and housing.

KPMG

KPMG Russia and KPMG Belarus will all also be leaving the firm’s international network. KPMG said that the move was incredibly difficult considering its combined headcount of more than 4,500 people between the two nations – “many of whom have been a part of KPMG for many decades” – but that it believed it has a moral responsibility to act. “We will seek to do all we can to ensure we provide transitional support for former colleagues impacted by this decision,” the firm added.

Grant Thornton

Responding quickly, mid-tier global accounting and consulting network Grant Thornton had by the start of the month already booted out its Russian member FBK, which has 500 partners and staff and last year generated $22 million of the firm’s $6.6 billion in global revenues. Grant Thornton’s member firm in Ukraine is receiving support from other network members around the world.

Ernst & Young

EY has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has decided to legally separate its Russian operation from its global body, and EY will not serve Russian government clients, state-owned enterprises or sanctioned entities and individuals anywhere in the world.

Deloitte

At the time of writing, Deloitte had suspended business operations and client service in Ukraine, switching its focus instead to taking care of employee safety, but was still reviewing its business and presence in Russia as of the 7th of March.

The firm stated that it doesn’t serve any Russian central government entities, and that it hoped that peace would prevail quickly. A number of Deloitte’s European practices have combined to donate over $2.5 million to various relief agencies.

Together the Big Four – Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC – employ more than 13,000 people in Russia.