Officials with Chiquita Brands International Inc. continue to consider relocating the company’s headquarters, but the produce giant will continue to call Cincinnati home until at least the end of 2012.
Local governments in Boca Raton, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., have been negotiating incentive packages to entice Chiquita officials to choose their communities for its home office, according to media reports.
However, the Palm Beach Post reported Sept. 14 that Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel said Chiquita wanted more than her city could offer. She told the local newspaper Chiquita wanted $15 million in incentives from the city, county and state.
On Sept. 19 Chiquita director of investor relations and corporate communications Ed Lloyd said Charlotte remains in the running.
“We are discussing options with officials in Cincinnati and Ohio, as well as other locations, including Charlotte,” Lloyd said. “We have not made any decision at this point but are focused on determining the best possible long-term location that best positions our business and employees for growth.”
Cincinnati officials started scrambling to keep Chiquita’s headquarters – and its hundreds of jobs – in their city after Chiquita officials voiced concerns in recent months about decreases in airline service out of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
City Council members have been quoted in Cincinnati media as having said an evaluation of the city’s administration would be in order if Chiquita moves. The clock is ticking for them: Chiquita’s lease in downtown Cincinnati expires at the end of 2012.
“Chiquita has been in a process of evaluating where to have our long-term headquarters for some time,” Lloyd said Sept. 19. “Earlier this year, we extended our lease in Cincinnati through 2012 to give us more flexibility through this process.”