Centene ‘committed’ to Charlotte HQ despite steep job cuts elsewhere

Centene ‘committed’ to Charlotte HQ despite steep job cuts elsewhere

Rendering via Centene

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Centene, which last summer made the largest single jobs announcement in North Carolina history, is cutting thousands of jobs after reporting a fourth-quarter loss, the company announced in a recent earnings call.

Why it matters: The cuts come as Centene plans to move forward with its Charlotte expansion, including adding thousands of jobs here.

  • If it meets certain job-creation expectations in Charlotte, Centene could get up to $450 million in incentives from the state of North Carolina, Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte.
  • If it falls short if its job promises, it won’t get the full incentives package.

Centene “remains committed to our new East Coast headquarters and building a robust, technology-focused workforce in Charlotte,” a spokesperson told me this week.

Given its rapid growth, the company says it continuously looks at its operations and staffing to remain efficient.

Flashback: Centene, a St. Louis-based Fortune 50 health insurance giant, said last July it would establish a new regional headquarters and tech hub near UNC Charlotte. There, the company plans to add about 3,200 jobs over the next decade. [Go deeper]

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  • The average annual salary of the local Centene jobs will be over $100,000, the company has said.
  • Centene began construction on the billion-dollar campus last summer and will wrap up sometime in 2024.

Driving the news: In a recent earnings call, Centene executives laid out plans to cut 6% of the company’s workforce. That means laying off 3,000 employees and eliminating 1,500 open jobs.

  • The goal, CEO Michael Neidorff said, is to “meet our margin expectations and expansion objectives and ensure organizational efficiency.”
  • The company’s announcement came as it reported a fourth quarter loss of $12 million, compared to a profit of $209 million in the same quarter a year prior.

The company didn’t say where the cuts will take place. Last year, the company paused development of a second phase of its headquarters outside St. Louis, the St. Louis Business Journal reported. That phase of development is supposed to include a new office tower, hotel, residential units, a civic auditorium and parking.

Centene already has employees working in Charlotte. Last fall, the company signed a lease for 37,000 square feet of office space at Camp North End, CBJ reported.

The city of Charlotte has not had conversations with Centene about whether the company’s local plans have changed. “Our understanding is that hiring is underway in Charlotte,” city spokesperson Cory Burkarth said.

“Moving forward, our Charlotte campus will be an important part of our growing healthcare enterprise. Charlotte has great talent, excellent infrastructure and a real commitment to sustainable development. We look forward to many years of collective growth and innovation in North Carolina,” the spokesperson said.

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