US fast-food giant McDonald’s will sell its Russian business and exit the market altogether, The New York Times reported Monday, citing an internal company message he obtained.
The company aims to sell its business to a buyer based in Russia, but restaurants will no longer be able to use the McDonald’s logo or brand name.
“This was not an easy decision, and it will not be easy to execute given the size of our business and the current challenges of operating in Russia. But the end state is clear,” wrote the McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski in the post.
Alongside other major food chains such as Starbucks and KFC, McDonald’s has temporarily farm all 847 restaurants and suspended business operations in Russia following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Most Western food retailers have so far been reluctant to leave Russia altogether, citing difficulties re-entering the market and concerns for the well-being of local employees.
McDonald’s has pledged to pay salaries to its 65,000 Russian employees until the sale is complete and to guarantee their continued employment with the company’s future owner.
The rebranded channel could resume work across the country as early as June this year, according to reports published by the state-run TASS news agency.
McDonald’s opened its first Russian restaurant in Moscow in January 1990, symbolizing the liberalization and integration of the Soviet Union into the global capitalist market.
In his post, Kempczinski called the moment “the proudest and most exciting milestone for the company.”
“It is impossible to ignore the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. And it’s impossible to imagine that the Golden Arches represent the same hope and promise that led us to enter the Russian market 32 years ago,” Kempczinski said.