DECATUR, Ill. (KMOX/AP) – Archer Daniels Midland Co. announced Monday that it intends to move its headquarters out of Decatur, Illinois, while maintaining a significant presence in the central Illinois town.
ADM said it is already considering a list of potential locations for what it’s calling its new global headquarters, but doesn’t plan to publicly discuss where it could be headed or how long it will take to make the decision.
Chicago officials said the city is among the candidates.
“This is a dynamic, global company that is a leader in a key industry, and we believe that they are a good fit with what Chicago has to offer,'” Tom Alexander, a spokesman for the City of Chicago, said. “We’ll do our best to keep them in Illinois.”
A spokeswoman for the recently formed St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, representing both St. Louis City and County, told KMOX News that ADM is “the type of company we would just kill to have in St. Louis.”
“We’ll move heaven and earth to get a company of this prestige here, ” Katy Jamboretz said. “I think there’s a great case to be made that there’s no better place in the world to do ag-science than St. Louis.”
She listed Monsanto, Bunge, Nestlé and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center as evidence that St. Louis is the “plant science capital of the world.”
The new headquarters would have about 100 employees, ADM said in in a news release. It would also be home to a new IT center that would add another 100 new employees over the next several years.
ADM has talked off and on for years about the need for a headquarters with easier access to the world beyond central Illinois, company spokeswoman Victoria Podesta said. Decatur’s small airport lacks commercial flights, and the other airports within 90 minutes of Decatur offer only connections to larger airports.
“Obviously we’re going to need to travel and work in the world, that suggests an international hub city with an international airport nearby,” Podesta told KMOX News. “We want to have it be easy for customers and business partners to meet with us.”
How does Lambert Airport, with its offering of Southwest connections, stack up against international hubs for American and United in Chicago and Delta in Minneapolis-St. Paul?
“We’re pretty nimble and responsive and we’re great at listening to companies about what they need,” Jamboretz said of working with airlines to get ADM the flights it needs.
Other important qualities in a headquarters city, she said, include access to a broad talent pool, including both agriculture-specific as well as industries like marketing and communications, and availability of varied career opportunities for spouses.
Jamboretz cited Boeing and Monsanto’s recent job growth as evidence that St. Louis stacks up.
KMOX asked about potential tax incentives and ADM’s Podesta said that the company would look to make the move in the “most economical way possible.”
ADM has about 30,000 employees around the world. The company, which is No. 27 on the Fortune 500 list, processes corn, soybeans and a range of other crops to make everything from animal feed to ethanol and food additives.
The company said it doesn’t plan any layoffs and will keep a workforce of 4,400 in Decatur, which also will become ADM’s North American headquarters. The company has extensive operations in the city, which is about 180 miles southwest of Chicago, and is its largest employer.
ADM, Podesta said, let local officials in Decatur know of its plans in the past few days.
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