* Location of tech center still to be decided
* Most employees will stay in Decatur, Illinois
* Fails to win tax incentives from Illinois lawmakers
By Tom Polansek
CHICAGO, Dec 18 Archer Daniels Midland Co
will move its headquarters to Chicago after 44 years in
the central Illinois city of Decatur, the agribusiness company
said on Wednesday.
ADM, one of the world's top agricultural trading houses, in
September said it wanted to transfer top executives to a new
global headquarters that had better access to transportation and
was more attractive to employees.
Chicago was seen as the frontrunner from the start, and ADM
in October said it wanted to keep its headquarters in Illinois.
The establishment of a more centrally located headquarters
matches ADM's plans to focus on global expansion. Australia last
month rejected a bid by the company to acquire grain handler
GrainCorp Ltd in a deal that would have increased ADM's
access to markets in Asia and the Middle East.
"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," ADM Chief Executive Patricia Woertz
said in a statement.
ADM plans to transfer about 50 to 75 employees to the new
office, instead of the 100 employees it had initially proposed,
after failing to win tax incentives from Illinois lawmakers,
according to the statement.
The location for a technology center that the company had
planned to open on the site of the headquarters is still being
determined, ADM said. The technology center is expected to
create about 100 new jobs over several years.
"One of the options the company considered was a
comprehensive plan that would have established both a larger
global headquarters and the information technology center in one
location and included state government support," ADM said. "That
plan could not be realized within ADM's time frame."
The Chicago headquarters will open in the spring or early
summer of 2014, spokeswoman Victoria Podesta said. The company
is not considering the Chicago Board of Trade building, where
futures contracts for crops that ADM handles are traded, to
house the office, she said.
For the technology center, ADM said it was considering
locations in several states and expects to make a decision by
the middle of next year.
About 4,400 employees are expected to continue working in
Decatur, which will become ADM's North American headquarters.
The company said it does not plan any layoffs in connection with
the move to Chicago.