Kaiser Aluminum moves HQ from OC to Tennessee

Vacates 36K sf office, relocates 70 executives

Kaiser Aluminum's Keith Harvey with 1550 West McEwen Drive (Insider Trades, Google Maps)
Kaiser Aluminum's Keith Harvey with 1550 West McEwen Drive (Insider Trades, Google Maps)

Kaiser Aluminum has moved its headquarters from Orange County to suburban Nashville, the Orange County Business Journal reported.

The 76-year-old company relocated 70 executives from a 36,000 square-foot office in Foothill Ranch to the Volunteer State in the last few weeks, according to regulatory filings.

As part of the relocation, the company is investing $3 million and creating 80 jobs in Williams County, Tennessee.

“Williamson County provides the benefit of a corporate friendly business environment and access to a highly talented workforce that fits well with Kaiser Aluminum’s corporate value of being a preferred employer and a great place to work,” CEO Keith Harvey said when the state announced the move in July.

Bob Rolfe, Tennessee’s commissioner for the Department of Economic and Community Development, said the company hired a site consultant who narrowed the search to four states, including Tennessee – which gave $1.2 million in cash to Kaiser Aluminum for the relocation.

It also has favorable tax laws, including no personal income tax, Rolfe said. California’s top state income tax is 13.3 percent, and legislators are considering boosting it to 16 percent. The airport in nearby Nashville has nonstop flights to 88 cities, he said.

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“We’ve more recently been more successful in incentivizing companies from California,” Rolfe said.

Some 63 percent of CEOs rated California’s business climate as highly unfavorable, or somewhat unfavorable, according to the survey led by Chapman University President Emeritus and economist Jim Doti. The survey found 39 percent of CEOs now consider leaving the state and 18 percent would move if they could.

Among the companies that have moved their Orange County headquarters designation in recent years include Healthpeak Properties, NextGen Healthcare, Tri Pointe Homes, First Foundation, Montrose Environmental Group and Smith Micro Software. Some of those firms have retained operational presences in OC, while moving their executive offices out of state.

Companies that have moved their headquarters to Tennessee from Orange County include Mitsubishi Motors North America and Cryoport, a cold-chain logistics firm

[Orange County Business Journal] – Dana Bartholomew