Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett hopes Salesforce’s announcement that it will establish a new headquarters in the Chase Tower in downtown Indianapolis and add 800 jobs shows that the worst of the RFRA backlash may be behind the city. Salesforce had been a vocal critic of the legislation, saying it made the state look non-inclusive and hampered talent attraction efforts. Hogsett says, while he would like to see statewide protections expanded to match the city’s ordinance, he believes the Salesforce expansion shows faith in Indiana’s tech ecosystem.
The cloud technology company plans to begin moving into the tower, which will be rebranded as Salesforce Tower Indianapolis, early next year. Salesforce has more than 20,000 employees worldwide, including more than 1,000 in the Indianapolis area. The company says its new positions will be in business operations and technology development.
When RFRA originally passed, McCorkle and several other prominent Indiana employers delivered a letter to Governor Mike Pence in opposition. It was signed by leaders including Eli Lilly and Co. Chief Executive Officer John Lechleiter, Angie’s List Inc. CEO Bill Oesterle, Emmis Communications Corp. Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan and Anthem Inc. CEO Joe Swedish.
Earlier this year, Visit Indy released a post-RFRA survey on perception of the city. At the time, Vice President Chris Gahl said the results showed "we’ve got our work cut out for us." The study showed only 45 percent of meeting decision makers surveyed agreed with the statement "Indy Welcomes All."