US tech firm which pledged 88 jobs shuts Belfast offices

Former Finance Minister Mervyn Storey with Kimberley Bowron and Gray Hall of Alert Logic during the firm's February 2016 jobs announcement
Former Finance Minister Mervyn Storey with Kimberley Bowron and Gray Hall of Alert Logic during the firm's February 2016 jobs announcement

A US cyber security firm which announced plans to create dozens of high paid jobs in an Invest NI backed move three years ago, has shut its offices in Belfast.

Alert Logic pledged to recruit 88 people by the end of 2017 as part of its expansion into Northern Ireland.

It said the jobs would attract average salaries of around £44,000.

The tech company, which is headquartered in Houstan, Texas, already had 30 staff in place when it went public with its plans in February 2016.

The cyber security firm, which had been offered £572,000 by Invest NI, took on premises in the Weavers Court.

The business park on the Linfield Road has grown into a hub for up-and-coming businesses in the city.

However Alert Logic has confirmed that it closed the offices last month.

The company’s workforce had dropped to just ten people when the decision was taken.

A spokesperson for the company said it continues to employ nine people in Northern Ireland, who will operate on a remote basis.

Invest NI has declined to state how much of the £572,000 funding has been handed over to Texas firm.

A spokesperson for the economic support agency said while the letter of offer remains live, the information was “commercially sensitive”, suggesting it could give Alert Logic’s competitors an indication of its performance.

The closure of the cyber security firm’s office comes as US-based financial services group State Street pulled the plug on its Belfast operation last week. It’s understood at least 40 jobs were lost in the move.

In a statement, Alert Logic said Brexit played no part in its decision to vacate Weavers Court.

“While Alert Logic closed our physical office in Belfast in August, we still retain a strong virtual presence here, with a remote workforce of employees who live and work in the region,” said a spokesperson.

The company said the ten remaining staff were given the choice to stay with the firm and either work remotely or move to another office. Alert Logic’s UK operation still includes offices in Cardiff or London.

It’s understood that just one staff member took the offer of a redundancy package, with nine staying on.

“Our decision to close our physical office in Belfast was prompted by the fact that our lease was ending,” continued the spokesperson.

“Our company as a whole is well suited for remote workers, with knowledge workers, flexible schedules and video conferencing capabilities.

“Brexit was not a factor in the decision. Alert Logic is growing on-plan in Europe. In addition to our virtual office in Belfast, Alert Logic maintains physical offices in Cardiff and London.

“Our Belfast employees are important to Alert Logic’s ongoing growth and success worldwide.”

Asked about the company’s target of employing 88 people in Northern Ireland, the spokesperson said: “The number of employees we have in Belfast reflects the number we have been able to employ and retain there with the specific skills we need.

“Alert Logic currently has open headcount and anyone is welcome to apply including security experts in Northern Ireland.”