Caterpillar Uproots HQ from Peoria

The company decided to abandon its previous plan to build a headquarters complex and will be leasing office space in the Chicago area instead.

By Laura Calugar

Caterpillar's headquarters in Peoria, Ill.
Caterpillar’s headquarters in Peoria, Ill.

Chicago—Caterpillar Inc. announced plans to move its global headquarters to the Chicago area. Plans include relocating a group of senior executives and support functions—some 300 people—in order to improve access to Caterpillar’s worldwide operations. While the machinery giant will not vacate Peoria, Ill., which it has called its headquarters for six decades—with the largest concentration of employees in the world continuing to work there—the previously announced plans to build a new Peoria headquarters complex will not proceed.

“Since 2012, about two-thirds of Caterpillar’s sales and revenues have come from outside the U.S. 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,” Caterpillar’s CEO, Jim Umpleby, said in a prepared statement.

Caterpillar’s headquarters is located at 501 SW Jefferson Ave. in Peoria. According to the Journal Star, 12,000 people currently work there.

“As mayor, I never want jobs moving out of the city. However, the overwhelming majority of Caterpillar employees and their families based in the Peoria area won’t be impacted by this decision. I’m pleased Caterpillar continues to call Peoria its hometown,” Jim Ardis, Peoria’s mayor, said in prepared remarks.

Beginning the end of the year, some senior executives will move into a yet undisclosed location in the Chicago area. CEOs, group presidents, a few vice presidents and some staff from the financial, legal and human resources departments will be relocating to the new headquarters. Caterpillar intends to lease existing office space rather than build a new property.

Image courtesy of Abel Uribe via the Chicago Tribune