Frontier Communications is heading to a new frontier — moving its corporate headquarters out of state from Norwalk to Dallas, Texas.
“Moving our headquarters to Dallas makes good business sense given the city is already home to hundreds of our corporate employees and sits in the middle of one of our most important fiber markets,” said Frontier’s CEO Nick Jeffery in a statement.
As reported last month, Frontier submitted a proposal to Dallas’ city council to create an “enterprise zone project,” and that the company planned on spending $7 million to renovate and upgrade the new headquarters on McKinney Avenue. However, the cable and fiber optic giant reassured it will “maintain a strong presence” in the state; although there is no timeframe yet for the move, according to NBC Connecticut.
The company currently has nearly 300 employees in a 48,000 square-foot office building in Norwalk. When rumors swirled about Frontier’s relocation, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling offered that the “City will assist employees who are impacted.” Additionally, Gov. Ned Lamont’s office engaged with the company, though Frontier “[had] not communicated any intentions or plans,” according to the governor’s spokesperson, Adam Joseph in mid-August.
Ironically, this move follows Norwalk’s inclusion in the “Top 100 Best Places to Live in the U.S.” report conducted by Livability, a marketing and content resource to help cities attract and retain residents and businesses.
Unfortunately, Frontier’s move is yet another devastating chapter in an all-too familiar story regarding corporate headquarters joining the exodus out of Connecticut (see below). In January, the LEGO Group announced it was relocating its U.S.-based headquarters to Boston by the end of 2026, moving from its current office in Enfield, Conn., where the toy giant has called home since 1975. Nearly 740 people worked in its Enfield office.
It was also recently reported that Norwalk will lose Campbell Soup Company’s corporate office — that now employs 154 people — when it consolidates into its headquarters in Camden, N.J. The company told the Department of Labor (DOL) 76 jobs will be affected.
However, more job losses are looming on the horizon for Norwalk and across the state. According to the DOL, Walmart’s Norwalk location will lay off 255 employees by December, while more than 500 employees of Hartford’s CVS Health will be laid off by year’s end.
Yet the DOL Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo recently expressed that the state’s economy showed signs that it was healthy, pointing to the unemployment rate — which reached a new low of 3.6% since September 2019, according to the agency’s July jobs report. But the economy has still not fully recovered the jobs lost during the March-April 2020 COVID shutdown. Overall, recovery is at 98.2%, while the private sector is “just 100 jobs shy of full recovery at 99.9%” — though this may change with the imminent release of August’s jobs report.
Meanwhile, another troubling indicator of the state’s economy is that its capital, Hartford, is among the worst cities regarding office delinquency rates in the nation, and the city also continues to suffer from increasing office building vacancy rates (now nearly at 30%). This could feed into what is known to economists as the “urban doom loop” scenario, which is as follows: with fewer commuters and businesses in a city, the peripheral businesses (i.e., restaurants, bars, stores) would suffer and close-up shop — which, in turn, decreases tax revenue from the commercial properties or employee wages, thereby negatively impacting government services and the economic well-being of the community as a whole.
It also does not help that Connecticut ranks 15th (1st being the worst) in having the highest combined federal and state corporate tax rates, according to the Tax Foundation.
Here are other companies whose headquarters have fled the Constitution State:
General Electric — the company founded by Thomas Edison, J.P. Morgan and Charles Coffin and one of the original 12 companies listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average — once called Fairfield, Conn., home. However, after more than four decades, GE chose to relocate to Boston to “be at the center of an ecosystem that shares our aspirations,” according to then-CEO Jeff Immelt. The move came after the company announced its displeasure with legislative tax policies.
After 164 years in Hartford, the city where the insurance giant was founded, Aetna decided to move its headquarters to New York City in 2017. The company stood to receive $24 million in tax breaks from New York state, and invested $89 million to transform 145,000 square feet building on Ninth Avenue. Besides the tax incentives, which Connecticut reportedly matched, Aetna’s chairman and chief executive — Mark T. Bertolini — stated the Big Apple was more conducive to meeting the company’s aspirations of creating digital tools, flocking to a city that would attract talent. As he bluntly put it, “It’s very hard to recruit people like that to Hartford.”
In 2018, Edible Arrangements — a company specializing in fresh fruit bouquets — moved its headquarters from Wallingford to Sandy Springs, Ga., in greater Atlanta. Former CEO Mike Rotondo stated at the time the company would “always have a presence” in Connecticut since the state is part of the “brand’s history and heritage.” However, Atlanta was an “attractive location” to “support the company’s next phase of growth.”
After announcing a merger with Raytheon Co., based in Waltham, Mass., the formerly Farmington-based United Technologies Corp., moved its headquarters to Boston after nine decades in Connecticut. At the time, nearly 19,000 employees remained in the state, while nearly 100 executives and other workers shifted to Massachusetts.
On Nov. 18, 2019, Stag Arms — a gun manufacturer — announced its decision to move its headquarters from New Britain to Cheyenne, Wyo. The company decided it “was time to do a complete refresh,” to pursue “visionary customer-centric leadership, a business-friendly, pro-growth economic environment, and a cultural climate that reflects Stag’s brand image of independence and free spiritedness.” Additionally, the company saw Wyoming as a “firearm-friendly and outdoor-oriented” environment focused on attracting “high skilled/high-paying manufacturing jobs.”
Alexion Pharmaceuticals was founded in New Haven in 1992, operating in the Nutmeg State for 25 years. Then, in 2017, the company announced it would move to Boston “despite $26 million in economic development aid from Connecticut meant to jump-start the state’s biotechnology sector.” CEO Ludwig Hantson explained the departure to be in “an ecosystem where biotech is front and center,” adding, “Needless to say, we will have a larger talent pool of people who have biotech experience” in the Boston-metro area.