“These are Russian-owned companies, primarily owned by Russians or Russian foundations, and they don’t share our beliefs or requirements,” said Michael Seid, founder of MSA Worldwide, a global franchise advisory firm. “The Russian concessionaire has debts, and he has to pay the employees. They will do what is in their best interest, and it will all be settled later.”
Wayne said that in the two weeks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it was clear from his conversations that executives with Papa John’s in the United States were nervous. last wednesday, Papa John’s Temporarily severing ties with Mr Wynne’s Russia business when it said it would not “provide operational, marketing or commercial support to the Russian market”.
“Our views diverged rather quickly,” Mr. Wayne said a day later in an interview with Zoom from Milan, where he had been visiting before planning to return to Russia this week. “I have a perspective where my interest is first and foremost my employees and franchisees and keeping the lines of cultural exchange with the Russian people open,” said Mr. Wynne.
“Papa John’s is concerned about the institutional and political winds that I cannot focus on on a daily basis,” he added. (Mr. Wayne’s business interests go beyond those of Papa John’s. During the pandemic, the The work of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Colorado.)
In an email statement, Papa John’s said it believed its decision to pause operations in Russia “was supported by the vast majority of our team members, franchisees, customers, and communities around the world.”
Mr. Wayne’s wife is Russian and they have a two-year-old daughter. They have a farm in Colorado that they call home, but they still spend a lot of time in Russia. While there, Mr. Wayne said, he spends his time during the week visiting Papa John’s sites “from Moscow to Siberia”. On weekends, he goes fishing, takes family trips in the hills outside Moscow, and takes his daughter to city playgrounds.
He said that “it was never my responsibility or right to comment on politics in Russia,” and instead focused on the opportunities he believed his work gave people in the country.