Chiquita Brands International decided to move its headquarters from Cincinnati primarily due to logistical reasons involving limited flights at the region's airport, said CEO Fernando Aguirre in a recent interview.
The company first considered moving its headquarters five years ago, he added.
Aguirre's comments are from an interview he gave to the Charlotte Business Journal, a sister newspaper to Cincinnati's Business Courier.
Chiquita executives announced in November that it would move its headquarters and more than 300 well-paying jobs to Charlotte, N.C., after receiving $22 million in economic incentives. Chiquita said it will save about $4 million annually over a decade by making the move.
“It was a very tough decision,” Aguirre told the Business Journal. “But it ended up a reasonably simple decision because of the many different positives associated with the move, from the incentives to the logistics with the airport, to attracting good Hispanic talent, to a business community that seemed quite open and good.”
Aguirre added, “We were close to moving five years ago or so, but we decided not to move at the time. We restarted the process a little more than a year ago. Charlotte didn’t come to light until probably nine months ago.”
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Chiquita moved to Cincinnati from New York in 1987, when it was owned by local entrepreneur Carl Lindner Jr. His majority ownership ended in 2002, after Chiquita exited from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.