GE Healthcare Moving Headquarters to Chicago From UK

CHICAGO (Chicago Tribune/TNS) -

GE Healthcare is moving its corporate headquarters from the United Kingdom to Chicago, its CEO said Monday.

John L. Flannery said he didn’t yet know how many jobs would come to Chicago but that only his “senior executive leadership team” is making the move.

The General Electric subsidiary plans to move into office space already leased by GE Transportation in downtown Chicago sometime in the first half of this year, he said.

City officials have not offered any tax incentives to help finance the move, which is motivated by GE Healthcare’s need to be closer to its largest market, Flannery said.

Though 60 percent of GE Healthcare’s business is overseas, the U.S. remains the largest single market for its digital imaging, information technology and life sciences business. The company’s IT business is already based in suburban Chicago, while its life sciences business has offices in the area, and much of its imaging business is based out of Milwaukee, which for decades was the company’s hometown.

Still, the pending move to Chicago — first reported by the Financial Times — marks a homecoming of sorts for GE Healthcare. An early precursor of the firm, Victor Electric, was founded as an X-ray business in Chicago in the 1890s.

Flannery said the move “puts us closer to our customers in the U.S.” and that he chose Chicago because it is “a great hub for travel,” as well as because of its strong health care sector and academia.

“We’re excited — we’ve had a good experience in Chicago with our transportation business,” he said.

GE Healthcare saw its revenue fall by 4 percent to $12.7 billion through the first three quarters of 2015. The company has been the only GE subsidiary headquartered outside the U.S. since it bought U.K.-based Amersham 12 years ago. No job losses will be associated with the move, Flannery said.