Dun & Bradstreet CEO says factors were ‘very compelling’ to move HQ to Jacksonville (Courtesy of the Jacksonville Daily Record) — Dun & Bradstreet Holdings Inc. moved its headquarters to Jacksonville just two years ago, but the business data firm’s history goes back almost two centuries.
The company was formed in 1841 to establish a network of correspondents to provide reliable credit information on businesses, and it had an impressive list of correspondents in the 19th century.
“We’ve had four U.S. presidents who worked there,” Dun & Bradstreet CEO Anthony Jabbour said at JAXUSA Partnership’s quarterly luncheon Aug. 15 attended by 400 people. JAXUSA is the economic development division of JAX Chamber.
“It was people like Abraham Lincoln who went in there and looked at businesses and decided if they were creditworthy,” Jabbour said at the event at the University of North Florida Adam W. Herbert University Center.
The other three presidents were Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland and William McKinley.
Dun & Bradstreet is still providing credit information to businesses and keeping at the cutting edge of technology.
All companies who offer applications for sale through the Apple or Google Play store are required to have a “D-U-N-S Number,” Jabbour said.
Dun & Bradstreet established the Data Universal Numbering System in 1963 to identify businesses for data processing services. The nine-digit D-U-N-S identification number remains in use to help companies collect information about potential business partners.
Dun & Bradstreet CEO Anthony Jabbour spoke to the JAXUSA Partnership event at the University of North Florida University Center.
The company continues to advance its technology with an artificial intelligence platform called AiBE, a name chosen for its connection to AI and to Abe Lincoln, Jabbour said.
Although Dun & Bradstreet is relatively new to Jacksonville, Jabbour is not.
He came to Jacksonville in 2004 to work with banking technology company Fidelity National Information Services Inc., and serves as executive chairman of mortgage technology firm Black Knight Inc. in addition to his role at Dun & Bradstreet.
Jabbour said it wasn’t hard to convince other Dun & Bradstreet executives to move the headquarters from Short Hills, New Jersey, to Jacksonville.
“It’s got everything going for it,” he said.
“It’s been easy for us to attract talent,” he said.
“When they see what we have to offer, it’s very compelling.”
Jabbour also credited Jacksonville economic development officials for attracting businesses like Dun & Bradstreet.
“I really got a sense you wanted us here,” he told JAXUSA President Aundra Wallace, who conducted a question-and-answer session with Jabbour at the luncheon.
Black Knight is working to complete an $11.7 billion acquisition of the company by Intercontinental Exchange Inc.
ICE agreed to buy Black Knight in May 2022 but completion of the deal has been held up by antitrust concerns raised by the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC in early August dropped a federal lawsuit seeking to stop the merger after Black Knight and ICE agreed to sell off two businesses to ease antitrust concerns. However, the FTC has not yet officially cleared the deal.
“People are working together on a settlement,” Jabbour said after the luncheon.
Black Knight’s stock has been trading close to the $75-a-share buyout price, which Jabbour said indicates that investors are expecting the deal to completed soon. But he could not put a timetable on it.
Jabbour will leave Black Knight once the merger is completed but he said Atlanta-based ICE has said it expects to add jobs in Jacksonville to Black Knight’s operations.
“I think it’s going to be positive for the community,” he said.
JAXUSA Partnership also presented two awards:
The Talent Champion Award to VyStar Credit Union for investing in its employees, college students, high school graduates and veterans. The award recognizes a regional employer for recruitment, development and retention of talent in Jacksonville.
The Innovator of the Year Award to ProfileGorilla, a software and service provider that opened in 2019 and gained 7,000 subscribers in the last four years. The award acknowledges transformative work in Northeast Florida as the region continues to grow economically and socially.