Nearly 200 Iams jobs leaving Lewisburg

P&G is a major employer in Lewisburg, as it was in Vandalia where it recently phased out the headquarters operations for its pet care business, moving it to Mason.

The changes announced Monday include closing the pet care manufacturing plant in Lewisburg, which employs 43 people and makes specialty pet food, and moving its operations to other P&G facilities around the country by September 2011.

In addition, about 145 employees of the pet care research and development operation in Lewisburg will be asked to relocate to P&G locations either in Winton Hill, within Cincinnati, or Mason, north of Cincinnati, starting in 2010. That transition is to be completed by June 2012, P&G said.

“It is expected that the vast majority of these employees will transfer to their new locations,” the company said from its Cincinnati headquarters. “The company will work with employees to find alternative employment at P&G when a move is not a viable option, with separation packages being a last option.”

The announcements do not affect the Pet and Health Nutrition Center in Lewisburg, which employs 70 people, P&G spokesman Paul Fox said.

P&G employees in Lewisburg were summoned to meetings Monday and informed of the upcoming changes, he said.

Michele Blair, Mason’s economic development director, said the city is thankful for P&G’s investment.

Blair said six companies brought new investment to Mason this year and several others have announced expansion projects, including P&G, which relocated about 240 Iams headquarters jobs from Vandalia to Mason last month.

P&G bought the former Iams Co. from Dayton entrepreneur Clayton Mathile for $2.3 billion in 1999. Last month, P&G relocated its employees from the former pet food office headquarters in Vandalia to P&G’s Mason business campus. Last week, P&G sold the Vandalia office complex.

The changes and relocations were among a larger group that P&G announced Monday involving almost 700 employees in Ohio, Connecticut and Massachusetts. The changes are intended to move R&D facilities closer to the operations they serve, Fox said.

P&G spends about $2 billion annually on research. The changes will likely save P&G money, but improving operations and productivity are the primary motivations, Fox said.

“By centralizing our R&D efforts to be better connected with our businesses, we are increasing our innovation capability and strengthening our innovation focus to better serve our consumers and customers,” said Bruce Brown, the company’s global technology officer.