Archer Daniels Midland Company announced Wednesday it is moving its global headquarters to Chicago, but said the agribusiness giant could still set up a new technology center in another state after failing to win millions in tax breaks.
The company said in a written statement it would move a small corporate team of about 50-75 employees to Chicago, but won’t, at least for now, be bringing 100 more jobs that were to come with the technology center it had planned for the same site.
Chicago, with its two international airports and big-city amenities, was an obvious contender when the company first announced in September that it planned to move its headquarters from Decatur in central Illinois to a location with better access to its customers worldwide.
“While we considered other global hubs, Chicago emerged as the best location to provide efficient access to global markets while maintaining our close connections with U.S. farmers, customers and operations,” said ADM Chairman and Chief Executive Patricia Woertz in the company’s statement.
ADM plans to keep about 4,400 jobs in Decatur, where it’s been headquartered for 44 years, and make that city its North American headquarters.
Woertz noted in her statement that the company had originally planned to bundle its new global headquarters with the technology center in one location that could have brought twice as many jobs to the city. She called that a “comprehensive plan” that would have “included state government support and multiyear commitments to stakeholders.”
But Illinois lawmakers did not pass a sought-after tax-incentive package.
Woertz said the plan to locate the IT center with the global headquarters “could not be realized within ADM’s timeframe” and that the company was scouting out alternative sites in several states. She said the company expects to make a decision by the middle of next year.
Still, Mayor Rahm Emanuel touted the company’s move as a win, saying it would solidify Chicago’s ranking as one of the top cities in the world for international headquarters.
“Our goal was to put the city’s best foot forward and highlight Chicago’s strengths: an outstanding workforce, globally renowned transportation and infrastructure, and excellent quality of life,” Emanuel said in a statement.
The company’s announcement earlier this year prompted a new round of concerns about Illinois’ business climate and debate in the Legislature about whether the state should offer financial incentives so that companies would create new jobs or keep jobs there.
ADM had sought up to $30 million in tax breaks to keep the global headquarters in Illinois. The Illinois Senate and a House committee approved that deal during a special legislative session earlier this month, but the House adjourned without voting on the measure.
Business leaders and some lawmakers feared the lack of action would frustrate ADM and send the company out of state. But House Speaker Michael Madigan criticized ADM and other companies for seeking the incentives. The powerful Chicago Democrat also said he was unlikely to support perks for companies that pay little in taxes.
ADM has about 30,000 employees worldwide.
While Chicago officials had said the city was in the running for the new global headquarters, officials in Atlanta and St. Louis said they also were also in contact with ADM.