Arbitron hq. heads to Md.

March 10, 2009|By Andrea K. Walker | Andrea K. Walker,andrea.walker@baltsun.com

Media research firm Arbitron Inc. said yesterday that it is relocating its corporate headquarters from New York City to Columbia, where most of its employees work.

Michael Skarzynski, Arbitron's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement that he and other executives should live and work in Columbia because it is where most of the company's research is done.

"He wanted to be where the action is, where the people who will execute the decisions are," said Thom Mocarsky, an Arbitron spokesman.

The relocation means the addition of four full-time jobs in Columbia, where the company has more than 1,000 workers. But the new headquarters provides a boost to the Baltimore area, which has seen the departure of several corporate offices during recent years in part because of mergers and acquisitions. Baltimore-based Provident Bankshares, for example, is expected to be folded into Buffalo-based M&T Bank in May.

Arbitron's move is part of a reorganization Skarzynski has put in place since taking the helm of the company in January. He also created three executive vice president positions that will be in Columbia.

Arbitron has a 275,000-square-foot campus with six buildings on Patuxent Woods Drive in Howard County. The campus has been the heart of most of Arbitron's survey research and data collection since 1994.

About 71 percent, or 767, of the company's 1,084 full-time employees work in Columbia. About 56 percent, or 269, of the company's 484 part-time workers also work at the campus.

The New York office will remain open as a sales office despite the headquarters' move. Arbitron also has offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Birmingham, Ala., and Kochi, India.

Arbitron is best known for its ratings of network and local radio audiences. The company's stock closed yesterday at $11.83. Its shares are down more than 70 percent from this time last year.

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