By MATT BLOIS
Mitsubishi North America is gearing up to hire more than 100 new employees for its Franklin headquarters.
The Japanese car company has invited 60 of the roughly 200 employees at the California headquarters to move to Tennessee. The new headquarters will likely have a similar number of employees.
Mitsubishi is hosting a networking event in Cool Springs at the offices of Williamson Inc. on Friday to kick off the recruiting effort.
Senior director of communications and events Jeremy Barnes said the move to Tennessee and the major hiring push are both part of a plan to reinvent the company.
“It’s every aspect of the business,” he said. “We have to take a step back and reevaluate and make sure everything we’re doing is critical to driving the business forward.”
He said the company’s goal is to return the Mitsubishi’s cars to a position of respect in North America.
Mitsubishi employees will start working out of a temporary location in Franklin starting in August. The company has to finish the physical transition by the end of the year when it plans to finalize the sale of its current building.
The company plans to maintain a regional office in Southern California.
Human resources workers and recruiters will be some of the first employees to start working in Franklin. They will need to identify, hire and orient most of the employees at the new office.
As a part of the effort to rebuild the brand, Barnes said Mitsubishi is revising many job descriptions, which could considerably shift responsibilities and the company’s chain of command.
“Some of the people we hire early on may end up reporting to people who are in California still. They may end up reporting to people who won’t be making the move,” he said. “It’s going to be very interesting how it all happens … It’s a little bit like building the plane as we go down the runway.”
About 80 percent of the company’s North American leaders started their roles less than 18 months ago, and two thirds of the employees at corporate headquarters will likely be new. Barnes said the turnover should yield fresh ideas about how to improve the company.
“As we rebuild the brand in the U.S. it’s going to take all of those new faces, new ideas and new perspectives,” he said.
Mitsubishi has been in the same building near Los Angeles since 1988, and many workers have deep roots in the area. However, Barnes said he believes Franklin will be an attractive place for many California employees.
He expects to make the move himself and spent the last weekend in the Nashville area looking for a place to live with his wife.
“We love it,” he said. “It’s beautiful. It’s ridiculously affordable compared to living in Southern California. Gas is $1.50 cheaper than it is in California at the moment. My wife and I were really impressed with it. We think it’s lovely.”
According to Williamson Inc., Barnes is in good company. Between 2012 and 2016 more than 200 people migrated from Los Angeles to Williamson County each year.
The recruiting event will take place on Friday July 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the offices of Williamson Inc. located 5005 Meridian Blvd., Suite 150, Franklin, TN 37067.