Husqvarna headquarters will leave Augusta

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Leon  Special
Special
Leon

Husqvarna Outdoor Products Inc. has already started the relocation of its North American headquarters from Augusta to Charlotte, N.C., the result of a global reorganization plan by the Swedish-based lawn and garden equipment maker.

"It has been home to a lot of us for a long time. It's a tough decision to make. It is difficult for a lot of the people involved," said Roger Leon, Husqvarna's director of sales for North and Latin America.

Mr. Leon has worked for the company, and its former owner Electrolux, in Augusta since 1992.

About 100 employees work at the Stevens Creek Road facility, he said.

"Not all of the employees will be asked to relocate. Through the consolidation of the offices, there are some people here that are doing functions that were very similar to what we're doing in Augusta," Mr. Leon said.

He said he is not sure how many Augusta employees will lose their jobs.

Augusta was home to the company's North American administrative staff, sales and service staff for consumer products division, purchasers for wheeled products and the industrial design center.

In June, the company's global headquarters in Stockholm implemented a reorganization plan that consolidated six business sectors into five operating units -- one of the reasons for the consolidation of sales and service personnel to its existing Charlotte office.

"The other factor is just the general economic conditions that are driving us to find synergies throughout the company," Mr. Leon said.

Mr. Leon said the transition will take place over the next six to 12 months, although some Augusta employees are already being shifted.

The company's lease for office space on Stevens Creek Road will expire in the middle of 2010, he said.

"Ouch," said Phil Wahl Jr., the chairman-elect of the Metro Augusta Chamber of Commerce. "This is surprising."

Augusta has been home to the company's headquarters since its spinoff in 2006 from former owner Electrolux.

Despite Husqvarna's plans to move, Electrolux has no plans to relocate its offices, company spokesman Tony Evans said. The appliance manufacturer maintains its North American headquarters on Bobby Jones Expressway.

Electrolux located in Augusta in 1987.

Husqvarna is the world's largest producer of lawn mowers, chain saws and portable gas-powered garden equipment such as trimmers and blowers. Its brand names are Husqvarna, Gardena, Flymo, Partner, McCulloch, Poulan and Weed Eater.

Globally it has 15,000 employees.

"Despite the difficult environment, sales for consumer products in North America increased for the third consecutive quarter," said Magnus Yngen, Husqvarna's CEO.

Internationally, however, the company reported lower income and product demand.

Reach Tim Rausch at (706) 823-3352 or timothy.rausch@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (18) Add comment
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DeborahElliott2
4
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DeborahElliott2 08/18/09 - 02:29 am
0
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Ok, so what jobs are coming

Ok, so what jobs are coming in?

augustakid
0
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augustakid 08/18/09 - 06:39 am
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Maybe they will have to

Maybe they will have to increase the staff at the un-employment office?

justus4
113
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justus4 08/18/09 - 08:13 am
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Another one bite the dust.
Unpublished

Another one bite the dust. But that state is red with all the little government politics available. Where are ya going? Thought small government was the answer to keep businesses. Ha! This move proves that someone is not telling the truth to its people. Wonder who?

disssman
6
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disssman 08/18/09 - 11:36 am
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I guess our building of a

I guess our building of a multi-million airport failed the -if we build it they will come - test. I am sure the TEE center will not fail the same test, what with all our things for families to do in the area. And if you add in the 3-4 aircraft that fly in daily, we are sure on the positive side especially with our TEE cente being on basically a two lane street. But on the brighter side I don't see how a Development authority could not know until the last minute of a companys plans to leave the area. Sure dosen't say much for our representatives. I am sorry I misspoke I meant to say the commissioners representatives, because the Development authority sure dosen't represent me.

haganr
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haganr 08/18/09 - 11:48 am
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no jobs are coming.

no jobs are coming.

whyme
2109
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whyme 08/18/09 - 12:01 pm
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my teen is losing two great

my teen is losing two great friends because of this move. what a shame.

DEVGRU
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DEVGRU 08/18/09 - 01:38 pm
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I have used these products

I have used these products and have to say their weedeaters are the worst products that I have ever used. Sometimes they didn't even last a day out of the box.

krclemsonfan
0
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krclemsonfan 08/18/09 - 02:11 pm
0
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This just makes me so sad!

This just makes me so sad! they are all such wonderful people and a shame that we are losing another company in Augusta. Now there will be vacant buildings for both Husqvarna and the former ADP and Kennametal. What is the commissioners hoping will go there now?

4725
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4725 08/18/09 - 02:29 pm
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I got off the interstate

I got off the interstate today and while sitting at the light, I looked around at the area and what a uncut, trash heap of a mess. What are we telling people when they exit for gas or a coffee at Starbucks. Honey, lock the doors and get the hand sanitizer out, we're about to get dirty.....come on Augusta, clean these exit ramps up. It looks like the GHETTO !!!!!!!!!!! Want to attract new blood ? Clean the place up !

HillGuy
7
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HillGuy 08/18/09 - 03:07 pm
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As the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

As the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Song goes..... "Augusta, GA is just no place to be."

HillGuy
7
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HillGuy 08/18/09 - 03:09 pm
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Score one for Deke!

Score one for Deke!

imdstuf
10
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imdstuf 08/18/09 - 03:56 pm
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This is just business in a

This is just business in a tight economy with a restructuring company. Although I take jabs at our local leaders, there is not much they could have done to keep the company from consolidating offices. As for the ADP office over there, that was temporary anyways. They are still in town, just at a new, larger location.

NoPartyFan
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NoPartyFan 08/18/09 - 06:14 pm
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They're a Swedish company.

They're a Swedish company. They probably can't stand the private insurance rates and the anti-socialism.

itiswhatitis
0
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itiswhatitis 08/18/09 - 08:14 pm
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Actually the reasoning of the

Actually the reasoning of the choosing the location of Charlotte as opposed to Augusta, was due to an international airport being close to Charlotte. As a Swedish owned company, this is beneficial to the corp figures who come to the US, periodically.
In reference to the quality of our product, you get what you pay for. All manufacturers have low end products. As an employee, it saddens me to see this relocation, as I will be one that will not relocate and not only will I be forced to find employment elsewhere, I will lose contact with my colleagues as well as customers that I have developed rapports with over the years.
But it is what it is, we can't change what is happening, so just have to move on and hope for the best.

georgiasouthern
5
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georgiasouthern 08/18/09 - 11:07 pm
0
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"come on Augusta, clean these

"come on Augusta, clean these exit ramps up. It looks like the GHETTO !!!!!!!!!!! Want to attract new blood ? Clean the place up !"
That goes for the entire state of Georgia not just Augusta. When the weeds cover the welcome to Georgia sign then you will know you are leaving South Carolina when the weeds get taller. I drove to Calhoun this weekend which is just below Dalton and I-20 all the way to Atlanta looks dirty and unkept. Even I-75 through COBB County which is the wealthiest county in Georgia has trash and weeds lining the interstates. No wonder Georgia dropped its "keep Georgia peachy clean" years ago.

WW1949
19
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WW1949 08/19/09 - 09:49 am
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Maybe all the people who get

Maybe all the people who get welfare checks should be made to keep the ramps, highways and cities clean. Do this each week BEFORE THEY GET THE CHECK. I forgot, that is beneath them.

Bubba442
0
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Bubba442 08/20/09 - 01:22 pm
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At this time I would like to

At this time I would like to thank the local govt. for all their hard work in doing everything possible to keep Husqvarna here. I'mso proud to be an Augustian

Bubba442
0
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Bubba442 08/20/09 - 01:23 pm
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Itiswhatitis tell us how u

Itiswhatitis tell us how u feel after a year.

corgimom
38440
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corgimom 08/21/09 - 10:48 am
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Charlotte is aggressively

Charlotte is aggressively pursuing businesses, the foreclosure crisis has hit very hard here. It also is closer to the Eastern United States and has I-85 and I-75 through it, and I-40 is just right up the road.

beachboy
0
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beachboy 08/22/09 - 06:22 am
0
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Have no fear, BO is here.

Have no fear, BO is here. He's going to save the world about like I could. What a joke......

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