The Ukraine Crisis: How are global CEOs responding?

Leadership StrategiesLeadershipHuman ResourcesBoard Director and Chair Search
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3月 24, 2022
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Leadership StrategiesLeadershipHuman ResourcesBoard Director and Chair Search
Executive Summary
How many companies are exiting Russia and what are business leaders’ biggest concerns about the war?
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The war in Ukraine has sent shockwaves around the business community, with a host of high-profile global corporations pledging their support to Ukraine and promising to act. But what actions are they taking? How high is the Ukraine crisis on the leadership agenda? And what proportion of companies have stopped operating in Russia so far?

We recently polled CEOs, C-suite leaders, and board directors to find out more about how global executives are responding to the Ukraine crisis—and their thoughts on how the war will impact their operations and people.

Data was collected between 16 March 2022 and 21 March 2022 and 350 responses were received from across the globe.


How high is the Ukraine crisis on the leadership agenda?

In the four weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine, 62% of global CEOs and C-suite leaders say their executive leadership team has met to discuss the war. Europe leads the way, likely driven by its proximity and exposure to Ukraine and Russia. Notably, boards are less likely to have convened.

Leadership Teams Convening to Discuss the War in Ukraine
(Percentage of respondents reporting team has convened at their organization)

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What humanitarian actions are companies taking?

CEOs and Chief Human Resource Officers have so far concentrated efforts on fundraising drives. Only a minority say they’ve completed more complex activities, such as dispatching equipment and supplies or providing logistical support.

Aid Mobilized by Organizations
(Percentage of CEOs and CHROs)*

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*Insufficient N to report on Asia


How many companies have exited Russia?

Despite the press attention on high-profile corporate exits from Russia, our data indicates that more companies are staying in the country than you might think—at least for now.

Of the CEOs and C-Suite leaders we surveyed, 16% said they had offices or facilities in Russia. A minority of them (28%) said they had shut down their facilities or offices in Russia (or are planning to), while 18% said they are evacuating staff (or are planning to). Two-thirds said they have done (or are doing) neither.

Clearly, the decision of exiting Russia is not a straightforward one, given leaders’ responsibilities towards their Russian employees.

Actions on Offices or Facilities in Russia
(Percentage of CEOs and C-Suite leaders who indicated they have offices of facilities in Russia)

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Employee welfare is front of mind

Employee welfare is top of mind for business leaders—even for companies that don’t have operations in the region. Alongside concerns around the emotional impact the crisis is having on frontline workers, leaders are also worried about how their employees will deal with cost-of-living increases.

While wage inflation will be one factor leaders need to consider, the more important and more immediate concern will be for the ability of their lowest-paid employees to make ends meet.

Human Capital Concerns
(Percentage of CEOs and C-Suite leaders concerned or very concerned*)

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* Respondents who noted the concern was not applicable were excluded from the analysis. There were no meaningful differences between regions.

What business impacts do leaders anticipate?

On the heels of a two-year global pandemic, leaders are bracing for more business volatility—from cyber security concerns to increasing prices and supply chain disruption.


Broad Business Concerns
(Percentage of CEOs and C-Suite leaders concerned or very concerned*)

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* Respondents who noted the concern was not applicable were excluded from the analysis. There were no meaningful differences between regions.