ADM picks Chicago for new headquarters

  • Article by: SARA BURNETT and SOPHIA TAREEN , Associated Press
  • Updated: December 17, 2013 - 8:56 PM

The metro area was on a shortlist of sites, and company officials visited in September.

 

Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. has settled on Chicago for its new headquarters, after looking at the Twin Cities as a possible site.

The deal calls for relocating 60 to 75 employees — less than half the number of jobs ADM originally planned to create in the new location — and doesn’t involve tax incentives the company sought from Illinois lawmakers. Two people with knowledge of the decision said ADM plans to announce it Wednesday.

The company announced earlier this year that it planned to move its global headquarters — and about 100 jobs — from Decatur, Ill., to a city with better global access and that would be more attractive to younger talent. The company also planned to open a technology center with about 100 additional jobs at the new site.

ADM representatives visited St. Paul in September and met with officials from Greater MSP, a regional economic development organization, and the Minnesota Department of Economic Development. Chicago was considered the front-runner from the beginning, but the company also reportedly had St. Louis on its list.

ADM officials did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment Tuesday.

The company, a corporate colossus with 30,000 employees and $90.6 billion in revenue last year, was founded in Minneapolis more than 100 years ago. It has operations all over the Upper Midwest, including a flour mill at the corner of 38th Street and Hiawatha Avenue in Minneapolis.

Some speculated that the company looked at the Twin Cities and St. Louis in part to gain leverage in discussions with officials in Chicago. But Michael Langley, president of Greater MSP, said in September that the Twin Cities also offered a logical home.

Notably, Langley pointed to a food-industry cluster that includes Cargill and General Mills and a deep, knowledgeable workforce. “In terms of food and food solutions, it’s one of our absolutely strongest areas,” he said.

The company’s chief executive, Patricia Woertz, has said it was looking for a headquarters with easy access for customers and employees. She also signaled that attracting talent could become an issue in Decatur, a town of 76,000 that’s home to a large Caterpillar factory.

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 taking a vote on the measure.

Business leaders and some lawmakers feared the lack of action would 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.

The company plans to keep about 4,400 jobs in Decatur and make the central Illinois city its North American headquarters.

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