By Mauro Orru 

Russia has appointed Chechnya's agriculture minister as the new head of Danone's business in the country, ratcheting up pressure on the French food company just days after President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that effectively placed the business under government management.

Yakub Zakriev, who is also Chechnya's deputy prime minister, replaced Charlie Victor Henricus Cappetti as head of Danone's Russian business, state news agency Tass reported late Tuesday. A Russian company database, also cited by Tass, named Zakriev as head of the company.

Danone didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Putin signed a decree on Sunday to take control of Danone's assets in the country, effectively handing the stake in its Russian business to the Federal Agency for State Property Management, a government body. The move is one of the most drastic responses to the flight of Western companies from Russia in the wake of the country's invasion of Ukraine.

The latest seizure follows a decree signed in April that Putin called a response to the unfriendly actions of governments that have imposed a barrage of sanctions on Moscow. Last summer, Russia took control of the international consortium behind the giant Sakhalin-2 oil-and-natural-gas project in the Russian Far East that counted the likes of Shell and Mitsubishi among its shareholders. The Kremlin has long threatened to nationalize the assets of companies that leave Russia. However, some businesses have kept some operations in the country

Danone said Sunday that it was investigating the situation and preparing to take all necessary steps to protect its rights as shareholder of Danone Russia. Last year, the group launched a process to transfer control of its essential dairy and planted-based business in the country.


Write to Mauro Orru at; @MauroOrru94


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 19, 2023 02:39 ET (06:39 GMT)

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