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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Oct. 10, 201905:20 AM EST

FIS CEO Gary Norcross: We’d love to grow here

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But executive declines to comment about Project Sharp at JAXUSA Partnership luncheon.

By Mark Basch  and Mike Mendenhall • Staff Writers

Fidelity National Information Services Inc. solidified its position as a major global financial technology company two months ago with its $43 billion acquisition of Worldpay Inc.

So what’s next for the Jacksonville-based company known as FIS?

“Global domination,” CEO Gary Norcross said Wednesday to 480 attendees of a quarterly JAXUSA Partnership luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.

“That was supposed to be a joke,” Norcross added after a brief pause, but he may not be exaggerating FIS’ place in the financial technology world.

Even before the Worldpay deal, FIS already was ranked as the largest financial technology company in the world based on revenue for three years in a row by IDC Financial Insights.

FIS, which provides technology for financial services companies, grew its annual revenue to about $12 billion with the addition of payments technology company Worldpay, with 55,000 employees in 40 countries.

JAXUSA Partnership Chair Ray Driver, JAX Chamber Chair Debbie Buckland, FIS CEO Gary Norcross, Mayor Lenny Curry and JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis.

That includes about 1,400 employees in Jacksonville.

“Over the years we’ve seen a lot of growth and a lot of it’s generated in Jacksonville, Florida,” Norcross said.

The Fortune 500 company is “one of the key players in our local financial landscape,” Mayor Lenny Curry said as he introduced Norcross at the luncheon.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has been touting Jacksonville as a financial technology center, including the announcement in August that technology companies SoFi and SS&C Technologies are bringing 498 new jobs to the city.

“Fintech is a hot topic around the globe but it’s especially important in this region,” JAXUSA Partnership Chairman Ray Driver said.

In addition to being a large employer, Norcross said it’s important for FIS to be involved in community projects in the cities where it maintains “centers of excellence.”

It’s not just good for the community but it also helps the company attract and keep talent, he said.

“Your retention rates are really high because people love living in the community,” he said.

After the luncheon, Norcross would not say if FIS has any targets for employment at its Jacksonville headquarters.

“We’d love to continue to grow our employment base here,” he said.

Norcross also declined to comment when asked whether FIS is Project Sharp.

Project Sharp is the unidentified company that matches FIS. City Council approved its share of $29.9 million in city and state incentives for the deal Sept. 10.

The project is a $145 million, 300,000-square-foot headquarters at 323 Riverside Ave. Sharp would create 500 jobs paying an average $85,000 a year by 2023.

As part of an incentives deal with the city and state, Sharp will retain its 1,219 Jacksonville employees, the number in the legislation documents.

The bulk of incentives will come from a $23.4 million Recaptured Enhanced Value Grant from the city. The state has offered $2.4 million in a Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund, while the city will give an additional $600,000.

The QTI is worth $6,000 per job, with $1,200 of that from the city.

A $3.5 million city closing grant upon completion of the project also is part of the agreement, but the investment from Sharp must be least $130 million.

City officials said Wednesday the development agreement between the state, city and Sharp has not been executed.

FIS is headquartered at 601 Riverside Ave. 

Norcross was expected to talk about the project. The JAXUSA notice of the luncheon said Norcross “will address the regional business community on the company’s recent Worldpay acquisition, the growth of the region’s fintech industry and other upcoming announcements.”

He did not address “other upcoming announcements.”

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