Is there an element of guilt behind Sykes' generosity?

Published October 2, 2006

After selling four U.S. call centers to a Boston real estate firm last month, Sykes Enterprises said it would give $2-million of the profit to the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.

No big whoop, spokeswoman Andrea Burnett said. The company has a long record of backing good causes.

Still, the contribution may mark a change of heart. When Sykes began shipping U.S. call centers overseas earlier this decade, officials in several U.S. host towns begged for its buildings and land. Founder and then-CEO John Sykes declined. He said he had no right to give away shareholders' money.

Is the $2-million donation sort of a mea culpa from CEO Chuck Sykes, who succeeded his father in 2004? Burnett's answer was cryptic. "Sykes Enterprises is proud to have been a business partner with the communities in establishing infrastructure for jobs and economic growth," she wrote.