Caterpillar leaves Illinois after a few decades and moves to Texas

Caterpillar leaves Illinois after a few decades and moves to Texas

Caterpillar Inc., maker of iconic yellow construction and mining equipment, is moving its headquarters to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, ending its centuries-old history of calling Illinois home.

The equipment maker believes the move will help it attract new talent and improve global access to its employees, customers and dealer network through the region’s two major airports. The company said in a statement that it will begin relocating its Deerfield facility to Irving, Texas this year, which will impact 230 jobs.

Caterpillar, with more than 107,000 employees worldwide, is the latest major company to move to Texas, following in the footsteps of Tesla Inc. and Oracle Corp, who moved to Austin from California. The announcement came as a blow to Illinois Gov. J. Pritzker, who is running for a second term in the November election and is promoting Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

“The Caterpillar global headquarters move is a huge win for the people of North Texas and the entire state, which now makes Texas home to 54 Fortune 500 offices,” Abbott said in a press release.

Texas has experienced a flurry of large corporate transfers over the past two years as companies seek to take advantage of the state’s relatively low cost of doing business, which includes zero income tax and access to a large pool of labor.

Caterpillar follows Boeing Co. due to moving out of the Chicago area. Earlier this year, the plane’s manufacturer said it would move to Arlington, Virginia.

“It’s disappointing that Caterpillar is moving 240 of its employees out of Deerfield over the next few years when so many companies arrive,” Gov. Pritzker said in an emailed statement. “We will continue to support the 17,400 people in Illinois who work for the company.”

Texas expansion

The move comes just one year after Caterpillar selected Irving as the city for its electrical division, the company’s generator segment. The project aims to create 500 jobs in Irving and invest $5 million in the community, according to Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce President Beth Bowman, who added that there are currently 10 Fortune 500 companies in the region.

Caterpillar said in a statement it has been based in Texas since the 1960s, but Illinois still has the largest concentration of employees in the world.

“We believe our presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth market will give us the opportunity to attract new talent and provide additional career opportunities for our current employees to incentivize them,” spokeswoman Kate Kenny said in an email. “We have over 17,000 employees in Illinois, including about 12,000 in the Peoria area,” he said.

The company also said the Irving office will give employees access to a mix of downtown and suburban residential areas with a range of high-quality housing and school district prices.

The move comes five years after Caterpillar moved its Illinois headquarters from its longstanding stronghold in Peoria to Deerfield outside of Chicago, angering the city’s residents at a time when the company has been building a global empire for more than 100 years. A month ago, Caterpillar held its first investor day in Dallas in 2019 and introduced a new buyback plan. CEO Jim Umpleby dismissed recession concerns in an interview, citing strong growth.

The move from Peoria in 2017 came as the company sought to step up its expansion into overseas markets. At that time, he also officially abandoned plans to build a new complex in his hometown.

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