CVS spokesperson: Aetna is staying in Hartford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CVS spokesperson: Aetna is staying in Hartford

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(WFSB file) (WFSB file)

CVS confirmed to Channel 3 that the company has "no plans to relocate Aetna’s operations from Hartford."

On Wednesday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration canceled the $9.6 million incentive package it offered Aetna to relocate its headquarters to the city.

Carolyn Castel, who is the vice president for corporate communications for CVS Health, said CVS officials met with the Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin on Thursday and they decided to not move Aetna's operations from Connecticut's capital city.  

"I am encouraged by the comments that CVS made today about their intention to keep Hartford as the center of insurance operations after the merger with Aetna," Bronin said.

Castel said in an email to Channel 3 that they "view Hartford as the future location of our center of excellence for the insurance business." 

CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo met with Gov. Dannel Malloy on Thursday as well. The governor said he was "thrilled" that Aetna will "call Hartford home" and build upon "a strong legacy of success dating back to 1853."

"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," Malloy said in a statement on Friday. "My administration will continue to work with CVS Health’s leadership team to ensure that their footprint in Hartford is maintained not only for the short-term, but in the long-run as well.”

Last summer, it was reported that Aetna would invest $84 million for new headquarters in the New Yor City's meatpacking district, near Chelsea market and companies such as Google and Apple. At the time, Aetna said it planned to move approximately 250 employees to Manhattan, but things changed toward the end of last year.

That's when pharmacy giant CVS purchased Aetna, raising questions about Aetna’s future location plans.

Catherine Smith is the commissioner for the state's economic development agency. Hartford has long had a stronghold on the insurance industry, although it has lost companies and thousands of jobs. However, Smith said Connecticut's capital city is still heavily concentrated as well as a host of businesses that support that industry.

"It just didn't seem to make sense when you already have another major headquarters to expand and have two," Smith said. "Especially when they were spending the kind of money they were talking about spending." 

It is unclear why the New York City deal fell apart. 

“Aetna’s home has been in Hartford since 1853. I fully commend CVS for making the decision to keep Aetna in the great city of Hartford. Hartford is the insurance capital of the world, and it will continue its long legacy for years to come,” Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) said in a statement on Friday.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) released a statement on the announcement. 

“Aetna’s continued presence in Hartford is welcome news for the thousands of Connecticut residents who depend on the company as a pillar of economic and community support, and a good omen for the city,” said Blumenthal. “I will continue to urge close scrutiny from DOJ and other enforcement bodies to ensure the proposed Aetna-CVS merger provides consumers with greater choices and competition and spurs economic development in our state," Blumenthal said in a statement on Friday. 

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said he was "glad" that CVS "appears set to renew Aetna’s historic 160-year bond to Hartford."  

"Aetna staying Connecticut is good for both us and them,” said Murphy. “I’ll continue to monitor the companies’ merger to make sure it’s a positive step for Connecticut patients and consumers. But I’m hopeful this decision is a sign that the company’s new, permanent leadership will have their priorities straight once again," Murphy said in a statement on Friday. 

Stay with Eyewitness News on air and online for updates. 

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