August 15, 2021
Moscow, August 13, 2021 (AFP) – Employees of Russian cosmetics group Natura Siberica, one of the few Russian consumer brands with a presence abroad, published an open letter denouncing what they consider to be a forced takeover of the group after the death of its founder.
“We, the employees of Natura Siberica (…) express our categorical disagreement with the appointment of Mr (Sergei) Bouïlov as president of the company and officially declare our refusal to work under his leadership”, say the employees in this letter published on their site on the night of Thursday to Friday.
“The company’s brutal seizure methods are so obvious that they cannot be hidden, explained or justified,” the letter said.
Since the death in January of Andrei Troubnikov, founder and owner of the group, a conflict has been ongoing between his family, who inherited his shares, and the new management, appointed by interim authorities following the death.
In this letter, signed by 164 people according to the Russian business daily RBK, the employees explain that Andrei Troubnikov hired Sergei Bouïlov in 2017 as CEO, before firing him 13 months later for “incompetence”.
They denounce his appointment to the post of “president” in August, a function which they believe “does not exist” in the statutes of the group.
They also claim that the wife and son of Andrei Troubnikov, who hold his shares, as well as a number of employees in key positions, have had their passes to access the premises disabled and their access to their work computer blocked.
The Natura Siberica brand, founded in 2008 and which offers products based on Siberian plants and flowers, is one of the only Russian entrepreneurial successes in recent years in a sluggish economy. It is also one of the few Russian brands to have made a breakthrough abroad.
Its founder stood out with his success as a “self-made man” and his relaxed style. He also owned two other cosmetic brands.
According to the Russian online newspaper The Bell, these three companies would have accumulated a turnover of 7.8 billion rubles in 2020 (904 million euros at the current rate).
According to the group’s website, Natura Siberica has dozens of subsidiaries across Russia, as well as in many foreign countries. In France, the brand is distributed by Monoprix.
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