Koch Industries turns off course and says it will stop doing business in Russia

After more than a month of defy public pressure by continuing to do business in Russia despite the invasion of UkraineKoch Industries now says it is plotting an escape route.

Koch president Dave Robertson told workers in a memo that Guardian Glass, a subsidiary of the Wichita, Kansas industrial conglomerate, is working with its local managers in Russia “to find an exit strategy” that will also ensure the safety of their employees. .

“Sanctions announced in early April, coupled with the response from the Russian government and other actions, have made the conditions unsustainable for Guardian to continue its operations in Russia,” said Robertson, who is also Chief Operating Officer at Koch. in the memo posted Thursday. on the company’s website.

Guardian, one of the largest glass manufacturers in the world, has about 600 employees at two factories in the Russian cities of Ryazan and Rostov. Guardian earlier this month asked its Russian workers to close the factories, prompting Russian authorities to reiterate warnings that such actions could lead to their prosecution and jail time, Robertson said.

In addition to protecting workers, Koch wants to prevent Russia from seizing the factories and “financially benefiting” from the facilities, the memo also states.

Impact of the Russian war in Ukraine on the global economy


Koch, the second-largest privately held company in America with annual sales of $115 billion, had been criticized for continuing to operate and sell products in Russia despite that country’s attack on Ukrainian cities.

“All other Koch companies, none with assets in Russia, have closed or are ceasing their business there,” Robertson said.

More than 750 companies have said they are voluntarily curtailing their operations in Russia to some degree above the minimum required by law through international sanctions, while others continue undaunted, according to a tally compiled by Yale University professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his research team.

According to Popular Information, a left-wing newsletter from Judd Legum, political groups backed by Charles Koch, the right-wing billionaire who is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, have opposed broad economic sanctions against Russia.

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