Electrolux moving North American headquarters to
12:00 pm
Thu December 17, 2009

Electrolux moving North American headquarters to Charlotte

Swedish appliance maker Electrolux plans to relocate its North American headquarters to Charlotte. The move could bring 738 jobs to the area, but it's unclear how many of those would be hired locally. WFAE's Lisa Miller reports.

Governor Bev Perdue stopped in Charlotte to relay the message that hundreds of jobs are on their way to the city.

"This is a big day. This is a big company," Perdue says.

And 738 management jobs is a big number. The Charlotte Chamber says the city hasn't had a headquarters relocation this size for 25 years. But relocations are tricky. Electrolux plans to transfer a lot of employees to Charlotte from offices in seven other cities across the country, including Huntersville. At this point, the company's president says it's not clear how many will transfer and how many the company will hire within the Charlotte area. Perdue says however the relocation turns out Charlotte stands to profit.

"The good news for Charlotte and this county is the fact that when you bring in this number of people regardless of whether they're external or internal you have housing turnover, you have school turnover, you have new demands for services, for restaurants, for entertainment, for culture, you have a new funding base for the private things that are really part and parcel of the success of the Charlotte economy," she says.

To the state though, all the Electrolux jobs outside the company's Huntersville office are counted as new even if no one from the Charlotte area is hired. Electrolux will receive up to $25 million in tax breaks if it meets investment and job creation targets.

Perdue says she'd like to do away with incentives altogether and create a national prohibition against them. But she says North Carolina needs to stay in the game with so many states trying to one up each other.

Electrolux North America CEO Kevin Scott joked he's glad the company made its decision before any incentives ban.

"I'm happy we got under the wire if that's coming," he quipped to applause. "We're certainly trying to run a business in a very competitive environment and, of course, a company of our size when we announce a move there is tremendous interest out there."

Electrolux will begin transferring employees from its current headquarters in Augusta, Georgia this summer. About 300 people work there. Troy Post with the Columbia County (Ga.) Development Authority says he hopes many Electrolux workers will stay in Augusta.

"They kind of add to the creative class of the area and we definitely would like to try to keep those same individuals involved in the area if we can."

Those already out of work in the Charlotte area likely hope that Post gets his wish.

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