Caterpillar will place “a limited group of senior executives” in the Chicago area later this year. The move comes on the heels of the Peoria, Ill.-based company's opening of a tech office in Chicago's Merchandise Mart late last year. Caterpillar also canceled plans to build a new headquarters complex in Peoria.
Cat will begin relocating employees later this year, with up to 100 employees total moving by year's end. About 300 employees will work in the new office at an as-yet undecided location once the transition is complete. The Chicago area office will include the CEO, group presidents, a few vice presidents and some staff from the financial, legal and human resources departments.
A news release announcing the decision attributed it to “continuing challenging market conditions and the need to prioritize resources to focus on growth.”
CEO Jim Umpleby stressed that Caterpillar intends to lease existing office space in the Chicago area, rather than build anew.
Caterpillar spokeswoman Rachel Potts told the Chicago Sun-Times that the company hasn't yet decided whether the new headquarters will be in the city of Chicago or in the suburbs. She also said that Caterpillar hasn't yet had any discussions with government leaders about incentives.
“Caterpillar’s Board of Directors has been discussing the benefits of a more accessible, strategic location for some time,” said Umpleby. “Since 2012, about two-thirds of Caterpillar’s sales and revenues have come from outside the United States. Locating our headquarters closer to a global transportation hub, such as Chicago, means we can meet with our global customers, dealers and employees more easily and frequently.
“We value our deep roots in Central Illinois, and Peoria will continue to be our hometown," Umpleby said. "The vast majority of our people will remain in this important region where we have many essential facilities and functions,” added Umpleby. “The new location is also an opportunity to add to our talented team while improving the productivity of our senior leaders.”