Diana Marszalek 31 Mar 2022 // 1:52PM GMT
LONDON — Grayling will be shuttering its Moscow operation in response to Russia's fierce invasion of Ukraine.
Grayling currently employs 40 full-time staffers in Moscow, where it has operated for 23 years.
‘We have been working hard over the past weeks to complete an exit from the Russian market. In doing so we wanted to be sure that we looked after our colleagues in Russia itself in whose name this war is not being waged and who share the world’s horror at the atrocities being committed,” chairman Richard Jukes said in a statement.
“Regrettably, and in consultation with our Russian colleagues, we have concluded that we have no viable alternative but to close the business; we will therefore do so as soon as practicably possible and in a way which gives our colleagues as much support as possible,” he said.
Huntsworth-owned Grayling is one of the last remaining international PR organizations still operating in Moscow, given the exodus of agencies and holding companies that has occurred since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The agency's confirmation of its Moscow office closure comes roughly two weeks after Omnicom announced its decision to pull out of Russia, becoming the fourth major marketing holding company to suspend business there.
Omnicom’s announcement came a day after Ketchum, which had Omnicom’s only wholly owned PR agency in Russia, announced it would be pulling out of Russia as the war with Ukraine escalates and the humanitarian crisis there deepens.
Ketchum, which had a sizeable 100-person office in Moscow via its previous acquisition of Maslov PR, turned over control of its Moscow office to founders Michael Maslov and Serguey Chumin. The firm previously counted a lengthy relationship with the Russian government, which came to a close in 2015.
FleishmanHillard, also an Omnicom agency, has distanced itself from Russia by divesting from its Moscow affiliate, FleishmanHillard Vanguard.
Earlier this month, Publicis Groupe announced the suspension of its Russian business, ceding the ownership of its agencies to local management. The move followed WPP’s statement last week and IPG’s announcement Monday that they were also withdrawing from all Russian agency operations, across disciplines.