Louisiana company will move ahead with Charlotte relocation despite new LGBT law

Louisiana company will move ahead with Charlotte relocation despite new LGBT law

CHARLOTTE, NC (Katherine Peralta/The Charlotte Obs - The CEO of Albemarle Corp., a Louisiana chemical company that said last summer it's moving its headquarters to Charlotte, opposes North Carolina's new LGBT law and is urging lawmakers to repeal it.

Still, the Baton-Rouge-based company is moving ahead with its relocation plans. In a letter to Gov. Pat McCrory last week, CEO Luke Kissam said the new law, which limits legal protections for LGBT individuals, is "inconsistent with our company's values" and could hurt its recruiting efforts.

"This law is bad for Albemarle, and it is bad for North Carolina," Kissam said of the law, known as HB2.

The company employs about 6,900 people globally and "must attract the best and brightest employees" for competitive reasons, Kissam added.

"Having North Carolina be viewed as a place that values and welcomes diversity is a must if companies like Albemarle are going to prosper here. HB2, which you signed into law, is an impediment to creating this welcoming business environment," Kissam said.

Albemarle's move to Charlotte will create 120 jobs, with wages the state said will average $169,425 a year. The company is set to receive a performance-based incentives package from the state totaling $2 million worth of rebates on its payroll taxes over the next 12 years.

"North Carolina is the ideal backdrop for headquarters operations of globally-connected businesses like Albemarle Corporation," McCrory said in August when Albemarle said it was coming to Charlotte.

Other prominent CEOs of major corporations, as well as state and city leaders, sports teams and universities, have voiced their opposition to the new measure. Last week, PayPal said it was not moving forward with its plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte because of HB2.