PEORIA — Caterpillar Inc. will join the ranks of multiple multinationals with a new headquarters in Lake County, near a network of highways that allow easy access to Chicago and its airports.
The global headquarters later this year will move to Deerfield, a village of less than 19,000 people about 25 miles north of Chicago, the company announced Wednesday.
“Following a thorough site selection process, we chose this location because it is approximately a 20-minute drive to O’Hare airport and convenient to the city of Chicago via commuter train, achieving our goal to be more accessible to our global customers, dealers and employees,” said Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby. “This site gives our employees many options to live in either an urban or suburban environment. We know we have to compete for the best talent to grow our company, and this location will appeal to our diverse, global team, today and in the future.”
Caterpillar in January reversed course on fading plans to build a new headquarters campus in Downtown Peoria and confirmed its intention to relocate top executives, some officers and support staff to the Chicago area.
The company cited the need for easier access to global markets as the primary motivation to move its headquarters from the city Caterpillar and its predecessors have called home for more than a century. About two-thirds of Caterpillar’s business is now international.
Caterpillar selected the Corporate 500 Office Park at 500 Lake Cook Road for its new offices and signed a multi-year lease, according to a statement from the company.
About 100 employees total are expected to move by the end of the year, with the first executives and officers expected to relocate in the fall. The new “lean” global headquarters in Deerfield will house about 300 Caterpillar employees once fully operational.
“We are pleased that Caterpillar selected our community as the location for its new global headquarters,” Harriet Rosenthal, mayor of Deerfield, said in a statement released by Caterpillar. “Caterpillar joins several other well-known national and international companies who enjoy the amenities and ease of access to transportation that Deerfield has to offer.”
In the wake of the original headquarters announcement, Caterpillar stressed that a majority of its 12,000-member workforce will remain working in the Peoria area, including at the current corporate headquarters on Northeast Adams Street.
Deerfield is home to more than 5 million square feet of office space and the headquarters of major corporations such as pharmacy chain Walgreen Co. and medical device maker Baxter International.
The village’s marketing materials also highlight its proximity to global transportation hubs. O’Hare International Airport is about a 20-minute drive from Deerfield, while Chicago Executive Airport is about 10 minutes away. The company has not publicly commented on the fate of its corporate jet fleet, or whether the aircraft will move to a new location from the company hangar at the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport.
“The transition from Peoria to the new global headquarters will begin later this year. As we’ve previously indicated, the vast majority of our employees currently in the Peoria area will not be relocating to our new headquarters,” said Umpleby. “With our strong presence of over 12,000 employees in central Illinois, we’ll continue our philanthropic support and civic involvement.”
Caterpillar has faced years of declining revenue since peak sales of more than $66 billion in 2012. The company will announce its first quarter earnings results for 2017 next week and has forecast $37.5 billion in sales and revenue for the year.
The company’s board of directors voted last week to maintain a 77-cent dividend, payable to shareholders in May, and elected its newest member, former AT&T executive Ray Wilkins. Former CEO and Chairman Doug Oberhelman retired from the board at the end of March.