Thursday, January 29, 2004

Florence not eager for Citigroup expansion



Cliff Peale

Don't expect Northern Kentucky officials to chase a Citigroup Inc. expansion, which might go to the company's Louisville call center.

State officials could act on an incentive offer as early as today. But Northern Kentucky, with a sprawling facility for the same Citicorp Credit Services division in Florence, doesn't appear to be after this project.

It has garnered attention in Louisville because it could add 1,600 jobs, more than tripling the existing payroll, according to the Courier-Journal.

Already, there are about 2,200 employees in Florence, and plans call for about 800 more jobs this year. Citigroup first opened the center on Houston Road in 1997 and completed an expansion in 2002.

"This is a strategic growth site for the corporation, but this (project) does not affect our site," said Johnna Fasold, a Citigroup spokeswoman in Florence.

Citigroup bought the credit-card division of Sears, Roebuck & Co. late last year.

Chiquita worldwide

Even though it was Vice President Dick Cheney making a lot of the headlines last weekend at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Cyrus Freidheim of Chiquita Brands International Inc. was there offering expertise as well.

Freidheim, Chiquita's chairman who recently gave up his chief executive officer title to Fernando Aguirre, was part of panel discussions on the Doha Round trade talks and the intricacies of global supply chains.

Both subjects are of intense interest to Chiquita. Even during his pre-Chiquita career at consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton, Freidheim wrote and spoke on corporate governance and other business topics.

Out of prison

Straight from the where-are-they-now file:

Gerald Lach, sentenced in April 2002 to four years in prison for misleading investors and selling unregistered securities, is out of prison and still living in Greater Cincinnati.

Lach, now 80, was freed on a five-year "judicial release" program in November 2002, and put under supervised probation. Since then, there has been no word of any violations, Clermont County prosecutors said.

Even when he was sentenced, Lach's family and lawyer argued that he shouldn't be put in prison because of age and poor health.

E-mail cpeale@enquirer.com



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