Local economic development boosters tried to put Sony Ericsson's decision to close its Research Triangle Park operations in a positive light, but admitted the news is a big blow.
"You can spin that any way you like, but losing 425 jobs is a big deal," said Charles A. Hayes, CEO of the Research Triangle Regional Partnership.
Hayes said he was caught off guard by this morning's announcement but that it's part of the natural "churn" of business. His group, which works to attract and retain business in this area, now is in discussions with 39 new companies that are interested in expanding here, representing 15,000 potential new jobs.
"We won't get all of those, obviously, but we're up," Hayes said.
Cell-phone maker Sony Ericsson is just the latest RTP employer to slash jobs. Others have included Nortel, IBM, GlaxoSmithKline and Cisco Systems.
"Over our 50-year history, there have been times when companies close," said Liz Rooks, executive vice president with the Research Triangle Foundation, which runs RTP. "It's not necessarily a reflection on RTP, it was a business decision on their part."
Just today, RTP officials hosted a group from China that was interested in learning more about the park's success, she added.
Sony Ericsson was formed in 2001 as a joint venture between Sony and Ericcson. The Swedish telecommunications company has had operations in RTP since the early 1990s.