Thursday, March 3, 2022

Buhler boots Russian director

Buhler Industries, a Winnipeg company that makes Versatile and Farm King farm equipment, has booted a Russian from its board of directors.

It’s part of the company’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukrainia. 

Another part is donating to Red Cross aid for Ukrainians.

Konstantin Babkin, the president and co-owner of Russian holding company Novoe Sodrugestvo, the owner of ag equipment maker Rostselmash, which in turn holds almost 97 per cent of Buhler, has resigned from the board of directors, Buhler announced.

Babkin has been a Buhler board member since 2007, when Rostselmash took up an 80 per cent stake in the Canadian company.

Buhler condemned Russia’s invasion and announced a fundraising effort in partnership with the Red Cross, offering to match staff and dealer donations up to $100,000 total, in support of humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

Babkin “has been a vocal supporter of the actions taken” by Russia and that's “in stark contrast to those of the North American executive team and do not reflect the position or values of Buhler Industries,” the company said in a news release.

Babkin is a co-founder of Russia’s Action Party which support Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime.

Adam Reid, vice-president of sales and marketing, has taken Babkin’s spot on the board. 

Grant Adolph, Buhler’s chief operating officer, is now chairman of the board. He replaces Dmitry Udras, another Novoe Sodrugestvo co-owner.

Buhler also named Ossama AbouZeid as a member of its board and chair of its audit committee. AbouZeid was Buhler’s president and chief financial officer before the Rostselmash takeover in 2007.