Lawmakers and Aetna themselves react to potential relocation

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Insurance giant Aetna is in talks with several states about relocating its headquarters. The company has been located in the capital city for over 150 years. Governor Malloy said they have been in contact with senior leadership at Aetna multiple times recent months about how much the company means to Connecticut. He says Aetna was given a formal offer to keep its headquarters here…and it is in front of them.

Governor Malloy said, “We have offered direct and incentive for them to stay up to and including matching anything put on the table from a competing state in order to keep Aetnas headquarters and jobs Connecticut.”

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin held news conferences Wednesday to discuss the potential of insurance giant Aetna leaving Hartford for New York City.

In a statement released early Wednesday afternoon, Bronin believes, “…it is clear Aetna decided a long time ago to relocate their corporate headquarters out of Connecticut.”

Mayor Bronin released a statement on Wednesday afternoon regarding the company’s potential move out of the state. In the statement, Bronin calls losing Aetna’s flag a “…hard blow.”

The full statement from Mayor Bronin can be read below:

“Based on multiple conversations with Aetna’s senior leadership, I think it is clear that Aetna decided a long time ago to relocate their corporate headquarters out of Connecticut. They have said that Aetna remains committed to its Connecticut workforce, and that the Hartford campus will continue to be a substantial employment base for thousands of Aetna employees. But losing Aetna’s flag is a hard blow for the state and for the greater Hartford region. As a state, we need to act boldly to change the things that need to change. Across the country, companies are locating in places where they can recruit top talent. We don’t have to be New York or Boston to be competitive, but we have to recognize that strong, fiscally-sound, culturally-vibrant metropolitan areas are key to economic growth. Connecticut has the opportunity to be one of those places, but we need to marshal the full strength of our region and our State to invest in a strong, vibrant Capital City – not at the expense of our suburbs and small towns, but for the sake of Connecticut’s economic future, because we’re all tied together.”

Around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Governor Dannel Malloy held a news conference discussing the State’s reaction to the proposed move. In his remarks, Malloy said, “It is my personal belief that some amount of change is coming.”

Malloy said that he believes a majority of the company’s 5,800 jobs in Connecticut will remain here, but there may be changes at the executive level, including the location of corporate headquarters.

Web Extra: Governor Malloy’s complete remarks regarding Aetna’s proposed move

My administration has met and spoken with senior Aetna leadership multiple times in recent months. In addition to repeatedly making clear how much the company means to Connecticut, we’ve put formal offers in front of them.

Most significantly, we have offered direct incentives for them to stay, up to and including matching anything put on the table from a competing state in order to keep Aetna’s headquarters and jobs here in Connecticut.

2017 05 31 luke bronin hartford aetna presser Lawmakers and Aetna themselves react to potential relocation
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin discusses Aetna’s rumored departure from the city, and the economic impact it would have (WTNH / Mark Ciesinski)

Hartford Mayor Bronin held a news conference late Wednesday afternoon to discuss the economic impact of Aetna leaving Hartford.

At 4:10 p.m., Aetna Spokesperson Ethan Slavin issued the following statement on behalf of Aetna:

We are in negotiations with several states regarding a headquarters relocation, with the goal of broadening our access to innovation and the talent that will fill knowledge economy-type positions. We remain committed to our Connecticut-based employees and the Hartford campus, and hope to have a final resolution by early summer.”

Joe Brennan President and CEO for Connecticut Business and Industry Association told NEWS8 there are many factors why businesses move out of Connecticut. One issue he said the ability to recruit the best talent. Brennan added, “And nowadays so much of that talent wants to be in large metropolitan areas we’ve got smaller cities in Connecticut which our great cities but they’ve all got their challenges.”

Brennen said whether Aetna moves its headquarters or not changes still need to be made in the state. “We’ve got to have a better environment. We have to get our fiscal problems behind us. We’ve got to be more aggressive with making the state economically competitive,” said Brennan.

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