Citrix Systems may be looking at moving at least some of its 1,500 Fort Lauderdale-based employees out of Florida.
The fast-growing technology company is often hailed by local leaders as an example of the kind of employer the region needs to provide good jobs for the community.
A board member of a statewide economic development agency alluded to the possibility of the move Thursday morning during a meeting of business and government leaders at Citrix's world headquarters on Cypress Creek Road.
Responding to criticism of Enterprise Florida's efforts to keep businesses from moving out of the state, agency board member Traver Gruen-Kennedy said his group has been working to retain jobs in the very location in which Thursday's meeting was taking place.
Gruen-Kennedy, a vice president of Boca Raton-based DayJet, is a former Citrix executive. DayJet was founded by Ed Iacobucci, who was one of the founders of Citrix.
Asked after the meeting to clarify that he was talking about Citrix, Gruen-Kennedy acknowledged that he was. But he referred further questions to Enterprise Florida staff.
''I can't speak directly to what Citrix is doing,'' he said. Then he added: ``Citrix is a company that has been growing dramatically, but most of that growth has been buying companies in California.''
In response to inquires from The Miami Herald, company spokesman Eric Armstrong e-mailed a statement saying that the company was reviewing its long-term options in response to its rapid growth in recent years.
''With that growth phase we have additional needs for top technology talent and modern facilities to house employees,'' he wrote. ``We've struggled to recruit top technology talent to South Florida. We have not had an easy time finding the skill set we need locally.
``We approached the state and county recently to talk about Citrix's future, our employee presence and community involvement in Broward and Palm Beach counties, and how we might work together to accommodate our business needs here in South Florida. While we are still very early in the process, the state and county's interest in working with Citrix has been very encouraging to us.''
State and local governments sometimes offer money to big companies that threaten to move away. These payments are known as ``economic incentives.''
Jo Moskowitz, Citrix's director of community and governmental affairs and a host of Thursday's meeting, said the company's CEO has expressed doubt about the company's ability to grow in South Florida unless the schools improve.
She added that seven of Citrix's last 10 acquisitions were in California and that the company now has about 1,000 employees out there.
The company makes hardware and software applications that enable businesses to access information from many locations and devices.
Miami Herald staff writer Patrick Danner contributed to this report