Centene CEO says Charlotte is a HQ option, if St. Louis doesn't improve

Cites crime, airport, mass transportation, schools, COVID-19 response

Brian Kelly
July 02, 2020 - 3:35 pm
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CLAYTON, MO (KMOX) - The head of Centene says his statement that he could move the company's corporate headquarters to Charlotte if things don't improve in St. Louis, is meant to be constructive.

"I want to see St. Louis be successful and I want to contribute to that success," says CEO Michael Neidroff.

He says Charlotte, where the company is planning to build a regional headquarters, has its act together on such things as its airport, light rail system, city schools, crime and even the response to the coronavirus.

"You look at the totality of it," Neidroff told KMOX's Charlie Brennan and Amy Marxkors, "They had a little rise in crime, they jumped on it right away. The mask policy (instituted by North Carolina's governor). The things that are sound pubic policy. They really are thinking ahead. It's a very welcoming city. The whole time I've been there no one's asked me what high school I went to."

Neidroff says those are characteristics he wants to see St. Louis move to. "It's not something that has to happen in one day, or one month, it's a process," he says. "There are some other people working with us in town to try and get it done. I'm convinced we will."

However, Neidroff adds "I have to be responsible from a personal and a corporate standpoint. If things don't get better I have to have an alternative, and Charlotte could provide that." 

When asked if it's easier to recruit employees to Charlotte, Neidroff said, "There's no comparison." He cited his effort to recruit a senior person of color to St. Louis, "It was the weekend they announced the 13th child had been killed and they said, 'We're not coming to St. Louis.'".  

In the meantime, Neidroff says some tech jobs could move from St. Louis to Charlotte, but he's not moving wholesale people there. He said he has had a lot of people ask if they could apply for jobs there, because they're familiar with the city. 

"I am not saying this to move St. Louis corporate headquarters," he says. "I'm working hard to do the things we've talked about and more."

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