IBM lays off Russian workers as it confirms exit

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Laborant)

Computing giant IBM has confirmed it will officially "wind down" its Russian business amid the continued war in Ukraine.

The firm had suspended its business operations in Russia back in March 2022, days after the war began, but will now begin laying off its workforce in the country.

The news was revealed in an official company memo shared with IBM's global workforce, written by its Chairman, President and CEO, Arvind Krishna, confirming the "separation" of its Russian staff.

Russian "wind down"

It's not known exactly how many employees IBM has in Russia, but the company had previously revealed the country only equated to 0.5% of its total revenue last year.

Following the suspension, IBM had continued paying its Russia-based employees. However, international and US sanctions on Russian banks had made it harder for the company to pay its staff in the country.

Western countries have imposed strong sanctions against Russia, with the country's banks banned from the SWIFT payment network, as well as from services such as Apple Pay, or Google Pay.

"Our focus for months has been on looking after the safety and security of IBMers and their families in impacted regions," Krishna wrote.

"We chose to suspend operations so that we could evaluate longer-term options while continuing to pay and provide for our employees in Russia. As the consequences of the war continue to mount and uncertainty about its long-term ramifications grows, we have now made the decision to carry out an orderly wind-down of IBM’s business in Russia."

"We see this move as both right and necessary, and a natural next step following our business suspension."

"Our colleagues in Russia have, through no fault of their own, endured months of stress and uncertainty. We recognize that this news is difficult, and I want to assure them that IBM will continue to stand by them and take all reasonable steps to provide support and make their transition as orderly as possible."

IBM is the latest in a long series of technology firms to announce a withdrawal from Russia following the start of its war with Ukraine, following the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and many others.

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.