Hartford-based Aetna is in negotiations with several states about a location for its headquarters and Hartford mayor Luke Bronin said in a statement that the insurance company plans to move its headquarters after more than 150 years in the state.
Gov. Dannel Malloy held a news conference on Wednesday afternoon and said he could not discuss the company's decision-making process, but the state has made efforts to ensure that Aetna remains a major Connecticut employer.
"While we have not been notified by the company of their intention to change their footprint in Connecticut, it is my personal belief that some amount of change is coming, and that it will likely include a change in their headquarter designation, along with some number of executive positions," Malloy said.
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The governor added that he believes the "vast majority" of the 5,800 Aetna jobs in Connecticut will stay in the state.
"It is still my hope that Aetna makes the decision to keep their headquarters here. But for me, this is now a conversation about the thousands of employees they have in our state. Keeping those employees in Connecticut is far more important than where Aetna plants its corporate flag," Malloy said.
Rumors had been swirling that Aetna was looking to move its headquarters out of Connecticut, and on Wednesday Bronin released the following statement confirming the news:
“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.”
Aetna officials said they were in negotiations with several states and no final decision had been made.
“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,” the statement read.
Blogger Kevin Rennie, a former legislator turned columnist for the Hartford Courant, has reported that the company is considering moving its headquarters to Manhattan.
And just before that, a columnist for the Boston Globe wrote an open letter to Aetna executives talking about why Boston is the best place for the company’s headquarters.
Aetna employs more than 6,000 people in Connecticut.
Some legislators had expressed hope that the reports were unfounded, especially considering how General Electric left Fairfield for Boston just last year.
There will be a press availability this afternoon with Bronin to address the news. NBC Connecticut will provide updates as they become available.