Mondelēz International’s CEO, Dirk Van de Put, recently stated in an interview with the Financial Times (FT) that investors are not particularly concerned about companies continuing to operate in Russia.

He emphasised that shareholders are more likely to be concerned if a company has a significant business presence in Russia, where disruptions could have a substantial impact on their investments.

According to the FT, Mondelēz’s Russian business accounted for 2.8% of its global revenues in 2023, down from 4% in 2022.

Despite this, Van de Put stated that there has been no shareholder pressure to leave Russia.

He mentioned that a few European funds had inquired about the business, but no investors had requested the company to exit the country.

Mondelēz’s decision to continue operations in Russia has drawn criticism from consumers and Ukrainian groups, who argue that Western companies still operating in the country are indirectly supporting the invasion and contributing to Ukrainian deaths.

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However, Van de Put defended the company’s decision, stating that those who exited had left their assets to “friends” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who were likely to generate more cash for Putin’s war efforts than the taxes Mondelēz pays in the country.

The news agency noted Mondelēz employs 2,700 people in Russia across three factories, and 10,000 farmers indirectly.

The Russian business now operates as a standalone unit, and the company sold fewer goods in 2023 but was more profitable due to lower investment.

Van de Put’s comments reflect a shift in the way consumer-facing companies are discussing their Russian subsidiaries.

Following the full invasion of Ukraine, many Western companies announced their intention to leave Russia, but few have managed to exit entirely.

Now, with a large majority still operating in the country with little chance of leaving, chief executives are becoming more transparent about their reasons for staying in Russia.