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 firstname.lastname@example.org.