Aetna will stay in Hartford as part of CVS Health acquisition

CVS Health will keep Aetna headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut, nixing the insurer’s planned move to New York City.

The relocation of Aetna’s corporate headquarters had been announced in June 2017, months before the first rumors began circulating about it being acquired by CVS. The $69 million purchase put the move on hold in early December, with the city of New York appearing to signal the relocation was dead when it canceled its $9.6 million package of tax breaks for Aetna earlier in January.

“We have no plans to relocate Aetna’s operations from Hartford and, in fact, view Hartford as the future location of our center of excellence for the insurance business,” CVS spokesperson David Palombi confirmed in a statement.

Palombi added that CVS Health would remain based out of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, while operating “a number of large corporate hubs, or centers of excellence” in other states, including Arizona, Illinois and Texas.

It was reported that Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini was the driving force behind the New York move based on his own personal preference for the larger city. However, Bertolini won’t have an operational role in the new company if the megadeal gets approved, instead joining the CVS Health board.

The announcement came after CVS CEO Larry Merlo met with both Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy.

“CVS Health has an incredible track record of corporate stewardship, and we welcome their leadership, and commitment to naming Hartford a center of excellence for the insurance business,” Malloy said in a statement. “Today’s announcement confirms that Connecticut is a tremendous place to do business, with a talent pipeline and quality of life that are second-to-none.”

CVS hasn’t said what Aetna functions will continue to be performed at its existing Hartford office, where about 4,000 employees work. The company expected $750 million in near-term “synergies” from the merger, but hadn’t specified whether that would meaning reducing the workforce.