General Director for IKEA in Russia and the CIS Pierre Kaufman and General Director for IKEA MOS Retail and Property Stefan Gross have been relieved of their duties, quoting the company's press secretary Oksana Belaichuk.
IKEA's Swedish group found that their Russian division had "cases of tolerance towards their contractor's corrupt actions". Kommersant reports that the issue was over an alleged bribe given by IKEA's contractor for providing power to a Mega shopping mall in St Petersburg. The name of the company is not being released, citing an ongoing investigation.
"Although the actions taken on Friday are unprecedented for a global corporation, but IKEA is committed to taking a firm stance on such issues," the press office reemphasized. "Our company has a strict business ethics code and specific rules that are mandatory not just for our employees' but for all of our business partners as well. These rules are the same for all countries of the world, and Russia is no exception."
Neither Kaufman nor Gross could be reached for comment. Kommersant daily quoted Belaichuk as saying both men were currently outside of Russia.
"We're deeply disappointed and upset. Any tolerance shown towards corruption is unacceptable for IKEA. That is why we consider the situation at hand intolerable, and we will act quickly and definitively," said IKEA's President Mikael Ohlsson.
Kaufman was responsible for development in Russia since 2006, and Gross worked in Russia since 2009, although has been employed overall with IKEA since 1999. According to Belaichuk, the mangers were informed that their contractor is using corrupt methods, but no action was taken.
The first IKEA store opened in Russia in 2000.
IKEA is the largest world retail chain that sells furniture and household items. It runs 11 stores and 13 Mega shopping malls throughout Russia, not only in Moscow and St.Petersburg, but also in Kazan, Nizhniy Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, and Novosibirsk.