Chicago is picking up another corporate headquarters — a good one.
Officials are announcing today that GE Healthcare, a division of the Fairfield, Conn.-based multinational that is in the process of reorganizing itself, will be moving to Chicago from Amersham, near London.
I understand that about 200 jobs are involved with the move of the $18 billion-a-year company, which is the only major subsidiary whose headquarters is located overseas. The company, however says the figure won't be 200 but something smaller than that, at least initially, but it will comprise the "executive leadership team," including the CEO and CFO, and may grow over time.
GE Healthcare has deep roots in Chicago and significant operations here and in the Milwaukee area. The original parent company was founded in Chicago in the early part of the last century as a manufacturer of X-ray equipment, eventually moving to Milwaukee because of good access to glassblowers in the beer business.
The company, at least for now, will be in space occupied by another division of GE—GE Capital—in the West Loop.
GE Healthcare specializes in making medical equipment, including imaging, patient monitoring and diagnostic machinery.
Why Chicago? John Flannery, president and CEO of the company, said in a press release announcing the deal: "Chicago has a rich industrial heritage, terrific international transportation links, and is close to some of the world's leading health care and academic institutions."
A news release issued by GE also includes statements from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner, who lately have been feuding over fiscal issues, but both praised the decision.
My sources tell me the city of Chicago offered no financial incentives to bring the headquarters here. It's still unknown whether the state offered any.
In Waukesha, Wis., for example, outside of Milwaukee, workers assemble CT and PET scanners, according to a report from last September in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Wisconsin is also home to the company's manufacturing and leadership centers for GE Healthcare's X-ray, Life Care Solutions and Services and magnetic resonance businesses, according to Fox.