Ex-Big 4 Partner On Why the Big 4 Firms Should Pull Out of Russia: ‘It’s the Right Thing to Do and You Know It’

I was scrolling through LinkedIn last night and came across this post by John Robinson, a former partner at both EY and Deloitte, who gave six reasons why the Big 4 should cut ties with their Russian member firms. He makes some pretty interesting points, and I was wondering if you guys agree or disagree with his reasoning. Here’s his post:

Three of the Big 4’s biggest consulting rivals—Accenture, McKinsey, and Boston Consulting Group—said yesterday they are severing ties with Russia. The Financial Times reported:

Accenture axed its entire 2,300-person business in Russia on Thursday while McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group moved to suspend all client work there, as the world’s largest professional services groups join western companies’ flight from the country.

Days after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, McKinsey and BCG had said they would not work for Russian government entities but had stopped short of dropping other clients, including state-owned groups.

McKinsey said on Thursday it would immediately cease work for state-owned entities in the country and would suspend all client work there once its other projects ended. The firm has more than 400 consultants in Russia.

BCG, which also employs about 400 people in the country, said on Thursday it was suspending its work with Russian clients but would keep staff based there on. They would be offered the chance to relocate outside Russia or to work on internal projects or for non-Russian clients, said one person briefed on the matter.

Deloitte is so far the only Big 4 firm that is considering pulling out of Russia, saying in a statement on Wednesday the firm “is currently reviewing our business and presence in Russia. We are mindful of our professional obligations and the changing circumstances as we undertake this review. We will continue to comply with all applicable sanctions; Deloitte does not serve any entities of Russia’s Central Government.”

FT reported yesterday that a source said another Big 4 firm “could be ready to announce its exit within days. However, an insider at another firm said it could take them weeks or even months before it could sever its ties to its Russian member firm.” That’s because some Big 4 firms “have encountered contractual and other legal problems that were delaying their ability to remove their Russian member firms from their global alliances,” according to FT.

Grant Thornton became the first large global accounting firm to dump its Russian affiliate after saying on Tuesday that “FBK, the Grant Thornton member firm in Russia, is leaving the network with immediate effect.”

Related articles:

Big 4 Firms Condemn Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, But Will They Sever Relationships With Any Russian Clients?
Grant Thornton Drops Its Russian Affiliate Over Conflict In Ukraine

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1 Comment

  1. The question to this ex-big4 partner is where were you when Chinese government severely violated human rights in China and Neo-Nazi militia (Azov Battalion) in Ukraine has been killing tens of thousands local residents since 2014? Because your main stream media didn’t tell you what happened there for years? or there were not enough people killed? or the pictures are not shocking enough? or you have too much financial interests in those countries?

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