|By BERL SCHWARTZ|
On his way to India on business in search of jobs for Lansing, his office saysMayor Virg Bernero slipped out of Lansing Tuesday for a surprise business trip to Mumbai, India, that his office announced in a press release after he had departed.
Bernero is going “to meet with the leaders of a global manufacturing corporation headquartered in India,” the release said.
The press release said the mayor was accompanied by Bob Trezise, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Development Corp., Ken Szymusiak, LEDC director of business investment and incubation, Greg Ward, chairman of the LEDC Board of Directors, and two representatives of the international trade consulting firm Global Perspectives LLC.
The website for Global Perspectives says the president and CEO is Dick Blouse, who stepped down last year as president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber.
The press release said they are due back “early next week.”
“Faced with the toughest economic conditions since the Great Depression, we must leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of new job-creating investments for Lansing,” Bernero said in the press release. “When the chairman of one of India’s largest manufacturing companies invited us to meet with him face-to-face to discuss the prospects for growing his company in Lansing, we didn’t hesitate to agree. Although there are no guarantees, if this meeting brings new jobs to Lansing it will be worth it.”
Randy Hannan, who issued the press release, declined to say what company invited the mayor.
“We don’t want to touch off a war of potential suitors” for the company, he said.
“The Accident Fund deal was a complete secret for over a year," Hannan added, referring to the purchase of the Ottawa Power Station in downtown Lansing as a new home of the Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America. “Companies don’t want to disclose their strategic plans.”
The trip has been in the works for about a month, Hannan said, referring to when the invitation was extended and accepted.
He said he’d “leave it to the mayor and Bob Trezise to comment on why the company found Lansing.”
Asked about the cost of the trip, Hannan said the LEDC is paying for it and that he did not have costs immediately available to him because he was speaking from home, in a phone interview at close to 7 p.m. “We will provide a full accounting when the trip is completed,” he added.
Asked about Global Perspectives, whose representatives are traveling with Bernero, Hannan said the company has offices in Michigan and India and perhaps another one in the United States.
A website for Global Perspectives LLC doesn’t list Michigan. It says the company has offices in North Carolina and in the Indian cities of Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and Pune.
“India has invested over $20 billion into the United States economy, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs,” the website says. “Most Fortune 500 companies have a presence in India, and every day, more and more companies are expanding their operations to India.”
It adds that “focused industry opportunities include advanced technology, defense, alternative energy, wind, solar, hybrid batteries, research & development, financial, entertainment, tourism, education.”
Hannan said there was no particular reason the trip wasn’t announced sooner, including trying to keep it confidential in order to avoid undermining a deal through premature disclosure of the company. As for announcing it so late on Tuesday, Hannan said he’d had a busy day, including testifying before a state legislative panel. “That’s the time of day I was able to get it,” he said.