City manager: Business leaving Kettering amid COVID-19 with $120M payroll

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

KETTERING – A major Kettering employer told local officials Tuesday of its decision to leave the city, taking with it an annual payroll of more than $100 million in a plan to have workers permanently do their jobs from home, Kettering’s city manager said.

Synchrony Financial “called to set up a meeting, and we had a meeting with them” by phone, Mark Schwieterman said today.

Synchrony – the first tenant at Kettering Business Park – will take nearly 1,900 jobs with it when its lease expires Dec. 31, leaving Kettering with a “significant decline in our tax revenue,” Schwieterman said.

Like many businesses, the global consumer financial services company based in Stamford, Conn. had its employees work from home since late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workers at the Forrer Boulevard site in Kettering were set to return there in January, a company spokeswoman said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Synchrony announced their employees would work from home permanently as part of a strategy “to change how we work and transform our company and culture,” said Lisa Lanspery, Synchrony senior vice president of public relations.

Ohio is home to many of the company’s jobs and Kettering is “one of the largest” locations, she said.

The city had been working with the company for nearly a year on a plan for it to stay at the business park, Schwieterman said.

During those discussions – which included economic incentives for Synchrony – the business indicated that its annual payroll in the city is $120 million, he said.

The package the city offered “met the needs of both the tenant and the building owner and we had anticipated shortly thereafter there would be a signing of the lease,” Schwieterman said. "But then COVID-19 hit and they delayed that transaction.

“We continued to be in touch with them throughout the year just to make sure that they didn’t need anything from us, and then yesterday they notified us of their decision,” he added.

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