NCR chief suggests potential move intown isn’t close

NCR’s chairman and chief executive indicated Wednesday that the financial technology giant has not yet decided whether to move its operations from Gwinnett County to the city of Atlanta.

“I don’t know about that yet,” Bill Nuti told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after NCR’s annual shareholder meeting at the company’s headquarters near Gwinnett Place. “Too far out.”

The AJC obtained an email Wednesday, apparently sent last week to company employees and authored by an NCR real estate executive, that said the corporation has "a plethora of options and locations" and that "nothing is changing any time soon."

The paper recently reported that documents show NCR considered asking Georgia Tech’s foundation to spend up to $30 million to buy land for a new corporate campus near the intown school to house as many as 4,000 employees. The idea was floated in February as NCR explored moving its headquarters from Duluth, in part to be close to the Tech campus, the documents show.

The company publicly declined comment on “rumors or speculation.”

The email, identified as being from NCR Vice President of Corporate Real Estate Kris Beauchamp, said the earlier AJC story “simply identifies one discussion, out of a plethora of options and locations.”

The email also stated: “Through the employee engagement survey, you have clearly stated your desire for a state-of-the-art NCR campus and, while nothing has been decided, that is our long-term goal.

“It also is our responsibility to meet with government leaders, take into consideration your input, and review all the options that exist. We will continue to do this.”

The email went on to say that “any changes to real estate would be a multi-year process and nothing is changing anytime soon.”

Georgia smoothed the way for NCR to move its headquarters and other operations from Ohio to Gwinnett in 2009 with more than $60 million in tax breaks. Gwinnett also gave incentives.

A move now would be a blow to Gwinnett and a potential coup for tech-hungry Atlanta.

It also could help NCR consolidate operations scattered around metro Atlanta. About 3,000 of its employees work out of at least three Duluth buildings. Another 700 workers are in Alpharetta, 50 are at a mobile technology center in Midtown Atlanta and 1,000 are at a large Peachtree City training and distribution center, according to an assessment by Georgia Tech.

NCR also has a manufacturing plant in Columbus. Worldwide, NCR has about 29,000 employees.

On Wednesday, an NCR board member — Kurt Kuehn, the chief financial officer of Sandy Springs-based UPS — said a potential move to Atlanta has been mentioned to the board. The overall news for metro Atlanta is positive, he said.

“It is great they are continuing to invest in Atlanta,” Kuehn said. “The real issue is NCR is looking to expand its presence here.”

Asked Wednesday about NCR’s satisfaction with Gwinnett, Nuti, the chief executive, said, “We love being in Gwinnett. We’ve enjoyed the relationship. Expect it to continue.”

NCR, historically a maker of cash registers, has been in the midst of reinventing itself to supply software as well as hardware to handle a host of consumer transactions, including everything from ATMs to mobile technology.

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