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Published: Monday, 8/27/2012

Whirlpool CEO reinforces commitment to Ohio

BLADE STAFF
Whirlpool Corp. CEO Jeff Fettig addresses  the Toledo Rotary Club at The Park Inn. Whirlpool Corp. CEO Jeff Fettig addresses the Toledo Rotary Club at The Park Inn.
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The chief executive of Whirlpool Corp. was in Toledo today, and he said his company's commitment to Ohio would continue.

“When you think about manufacturing and you think about Whirlpool, Ohio is Whirlpool for us,” Jeff Fettig said. “We have more assets invested in Ohio than any other state. We have more employees in Ohio than any other state. We’re investing today in more new capital than any other state.”

Five of Whirlpool’s eight U.S. plants, and about half its 22,000 U.S. employees are in Ohio. It has a particularly strong presence in northwest Ohio — the company makes washing machines in Clyde, dishwashers in Findlay, dryers in Marion, and freezers in Ottawa. Mr. Fettig spoke today to the Toledo Rotary Club. He used the address to talk about the Michigan-based company’s commitment to and belief in U.S. manufacturing.

Whirlpool says 82 percent of what it sells in the United States is built here. The company, which is the world’s largest major appliance manufacturer, pledged in 2010 to invest $1 billion in its U.S. operations by 2014. It also recently insourced mixer production from China to Greenville, Ohio, and brought some operations previously done in Mexico to its Clyde plant.

“We’re doing it not because it’s Ohio,” Mr. Fettig said, “we’re doing it because it’s the right business decision and Ohio is our most competitive spot in the world to be doing this.”

Though the company’s labor an benefit costs are higher in Ohio than they would be in some other countries, Mr. Fettig said they’re more than offset by productivity gains and money saved in logistics.



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