14 Jan Rayovac to Relocate Headquarters
Madison, Wis. – Rayovac Corp., a force in the Madison economy since 1906 will be moving its corporate headquarters to an Atlanta, Ga. suburb in May.
According to Atlantic Business Chronicle, 30 top executives and the CEO will move south. The announcement came as a surprise to many.
“We are tremendously disappointed that we didn’t get the chance to try to work with [Rayovac],” said Melanie Conklin, spokesperson for Madison Mayor, Dave Cieslewicz. “Keeping local businesses is important to us.”
Other members of the community also share the same degree of exasperation.
“Taking top executives is a critical and symbolic move … the mayor and the city were not allowed to decide,” said Director of University Research Park Mark Bugher. “We’d like some input and the opportunity to be responsive.”
Madison Mayor Cieslewicz developed a “rapid response” team in December that is designed to try and reverse the decisions of departing companies but, according to Conklin, was never given the chance to work with Rayovac.
David Jones, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, told Atlanta Business Chronicle that he felt Rayovac’s headquarters needed to be in a more accessible city. Jones added that through acquisitions like VARTA Consumer Batteries, Europe’s largest battery company, and Remington Products, which develops grooming products, the company plans to grow from $3 billion to $5 billion in five years.
But Rayovac is not severing all its ties to Madison. The company’s North American headquarters will remain in Madison and Remington’s Connecticut-based operations will be incorporated into Wisconsin’s. The consolidation will create 100 new jobs in Madison and 30 in Portage.
At the beginning of 2003. Rayovac had 480 full-time employees and 40 part-time employees in Madison but cut 290 jobs in spring, according to The Capital Times.
The economic effect of the company’s move has people guessing.
“It depends on how much they pull out [of Madison],” Conklin said. “That will determine the repercussion.”
Rayovac spokesperson John Daggett told The Capital Times Tuesday that the company would maintain a “significant presence in Madison.” Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, said that he hopes Rayovac will want to continue its presence in Madison, despite its decision, because the company’s roots are here.
Kristin V. Johnson is a Madison-based writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)