Chiquita Brands International Inc. (NYSE: CQB) announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to Charlotte, NC, from the company's current location in Cincinnati, according to a Nov. 29 company press release. The relocation will include more than 300 positions currently based in Cincinnati. Chiquita also will consolidate other corporate functions in Charlotte by bringing more than 100 additional positions currently spread across the United States to improve execution and accelerate decision-making. The move is expected to be complete by the end of 2012.
"After an extensive review of our capabilities and needs, we are confident that Charlotte is the optimal location for our business and that our decision to relocate is in the long-term best interest of our company, customers, employees and shareholders," Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer, said in the press release. "Charlotte provided the most-compelling economic opportunity to lower our long-term operating costs, and the region is an attractive community for our employees. Importantly, the Charlotte airport provides improved access to international markets, customers and Chiquita operations around the world.
"We are grateful for the efforts and leadership of Governor Perdue, Mecklenburg County Commission Chair Roberts, Mayor Foxx, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and Charlotte Center City Partners for working with us to make this relocation possible. We look forward to joining the Charlotte business community and beginning this exciting new chapter for Chiquita," added Mr. Aguirre.
"Chiquita looked across America for a place to locate its global headquarters and they chose Charlotte, North Carolina," North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue said in the release. "Once again, this state's tremendous workforce, top business climate and accessible infrastructure attracted an internationally competitive company."
"We welcome Chiquita and its global headquarters to Charlotte," said Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. "Their move, which follows an all-hands-on-deck recruiting effort, serves to further diversify Charlotte's economy and bring a significant number of high-quality jobs. Chiquita has a legendary track record of corporate citizenship. And in addition to its economic impact, we can also look forward to the many ways in which its presence will enhance our quality of life."
Chiquita will offer the great majority of its Cincinnati employees the opportunity to relocate to the North Carolina headquarters. The decision to relocate Chiquita's headquarters follows a thoughtful and rigorous review of Chiquita's corporate operations and is part of the company's ongoing efforts to make its operations more efficient. Potential locations were evaluated against multiple criteria, including costs and ease of access to Chiquita's operations.
The company expects that total project-related costs will total $30 million to $35 million during the next two years, of which $24 million will be recaptured through state, local and other incentives during the next decade. In addition, the company expects to generate ongoing operating cost savings of more than $4 million annually during the next decade from the benefits of domestic consolidation of locations, lower rental rates and travel costs.
Positions Chiquita for long-term growth, improves operational efficiencies, and enhances access to worldwide market opportunities and customers