Taras Panasenko, IMD EMBA candidate and CEO of Ukrainian discount store chain Avrora, describes how he and his team are keeping shops open to provide citizens with essential supplies.
One week ago, customers popped into Ukrainian discount store chain Avrora to browse shelves piled high with kitchen utensils, colourful reusable water bottles and craft items like glue and glitter. Now, with Russian missiles raining down on the country, its top-selling products are toilet paper, power banks, batteries, torches and candles.
Following last week’s Russian invasion, CEO Taras Panasenko, an IMD EMBA candidate who completed IMD’s Program for executive development in 2020, is determined to keep open as many of Avrora’s 860 stores as possible, provided it is safe for staff.
“On the first day of the invasion, all stores were closed in the morning, but by the evening we started to open some again,” Panasenko told IMD while he was out shopping for additional military equipment, including sturdy shoes and bags in case he is called up to fight. “People actually asked us if we could open our stores.”