Newsmaker of the Week: Albemarle

    Two years ago, Albemarle corporate officials sent a jolt through Baton Rouge, announcing the chemical giant was moving its corporate headquarters to North Carolina. This week, the other shoe dropped as the company announced even more jobs would be shipped out of state.

    As first reported by Daily Report, the company says it will shut down its corporate offices in downtown Baton Rouge, moving as many as 200 employees to North Carolina.

    State officials here say there’s nothing they could have done; Albemarle did not reach out to Louisiana Economic Development to see what it had to offer. North Carolina gave the company $2 million in 2015 to move its headquarters, and this week announced it would give Albermarle a 12-year incentive package worth $4.3 million for 170 jobs.

    Most of those 170 jobs will presumably come from the Baton Rouge office, but the company refused to share many details this week.

    Just nine years ago, Albemarle’s decision to relocate its headquarters from Virginia to Baton Rouge—in exchange for more than $4.2 million in incentives—was heralded as a rousing success for the state. But LED Secretary Don Pierson says there’s not much he could have done this time around to stop the company from leaving.

    “The company did not re-engage with LED or provide an opportunity to retain the additional positions that are moving to North Carolina,” Pierson said this week. “Essentially, this is another step in the move that began in 2015.”

    This week’s announcement only applied to the downtown employees, and there is no word on what will happen to the 250 workers at the Gulf States Utilities Road facility.

    —Sam Karlin

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