Citrix Systems, which provided a much-needed shot in the arm to the downtown Warehouse District when it announced it was moving its local operations here in the summer of 2012, has committed to 400 new hires in Raleigh over the next five years.
Exactly where those new employees will be based is yet to be determined, but Citrix executive Jesse Lipson said in an interview after Thursday’s announcement that it will be in the “general vicinity” of its 171,000-square-foot offices at the intersection of West and Hargett streets.
Citrix, which last year generated more than $3 billion in revenue, has more than 900 employees at the site that once housed a Dillon Supply warehouse.
“We’re fairly close to being maxed out here,” said Lipson, corporate vice president and general manager of Citrix’s cloud services business unit and the person who gets the credit for luring Florida-based Citrix to Raleigh. Citrix didn’t have a local presence until it acquired ShareFile, a Raleigh startup founded and led by Lipson, for $54 million in 2011.
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Citrix is eligible to receive up to $5.7 million in incentives under a state Job Development Investment Grant, money that is contingent on Citrix meeting its job and investment targets. Citrix also plans $5 million in capital expenditures as part of its expansion.
The average annual salary of the new jobs is expected to be at least $73,325, well in excess of Wake County’s average annual wage of $52,315, according to the office of Gov. Pat McCrory.
McCrory announced the new jobs Thursday at a press conference at Citrix’s offices.
“They could have gone anywhere in the nation, they could have gone anywhere in the world,” McCrory said.“And they decided to expand right here in North Carolina.”
Lipson said the company’s success in attracting talented employees was the overriding factor in the decision to expand in Raleigh rather than in other locations where the company has a significant presence, including its headquarters in Florida as well as lower-cost options such as India and China.
The Raleigh office’s track record, said Lipson, also trumped the company’s discomfort with House Bill 2, the controversial law passed in March that requires people in government facilities to use bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificates. The resulting backlash led to companies such as PayPal and Deutsche Bank to pull the plug on plans to expand in the state.
Lipson said that Citrix would like the law repealed or modified.
“We have pretty clear feedback from our employee base that they want more inclusive legislation,” he said.
Citrix’s decision to shift its local presence to the Warehouse District four years ago sparked a renaissance of the area, including two projects that are being built across the street: the Union Station transit hub, which is set to open in January 2018, and The Dillon, which includes a 17-story tower.
“We can’t thank you enough, Jesse, for taking that first step,” Raleigh Mary Nancy McFarlane said when she took the podium.
When Citrix announced its move in 2012, it committed to expand from 130 workers to nearly 470 workers within five years in exchange for more than $9 million in state and local incentives. The company had exceeded its job target by the time it moved into the building in fall 2014.
Most of Citrix’s more than 900 Raleigh employees are connected to its ShareFile business, and Lipson said he expects that to continue going forward.
ShareFile has been a stellar performer for Citrix. In discussing the company’s latest quarterly results with analysts, CEO Kirill Tatarinov reported that ShareFile revenue rose 25 percent over a year ago as the product “continued to prove itself as a growing force” within its market.
Raleigh City Council member Mary Ann Baldwin said she expects ShareFile also will exceed its job projections this time around.
“Jesse is really a great leader,” she said. “Great leaders look ahead and don’t rest on their laurels. They are innovating all the time. That is the kind of company that will be successful long term.”