From Illinois Economic Development Guide 2017


Chicago is a top choice for corporate headquarters.

Photo: Getty Images

If a corporation has an Illinois address, it sends a strong message about the company.

For years, Chicago has been the quintessential headquarters location for businesses to establish a presence as a world-class company. Today, it’s not just the metro Chicago region but the entire state that holds a reputation for being one of the best places for corporate headquarters to do business.

Site Selection ranked Illinois No. 3 in the its corporate expansions ranking and Chicago No. 1 metro area for new and expanded facilities. Illinois’s economy is the fifth largest in the U.S. and the 17th in the world. Its central location and robust logistics and transportation network make the state an ideal choice for companies that need to reach their customers and supply bases quickly.

The most educated employees in the Midwest are located in Illinois, with more than 38 percent of the state’s workforce holding at least a bachelor’s degree. The state has a ready pipeline of highly-skilled talent graduating from the more than 200 institutions of higher education in the state.

There are 37 Fortune 500 and 14 Global 500 companies with headquarters in the state. Another 241 companies on Inc. 5,000 list are headquartered within Illinois, not to mention the 29 Standard & Poor’s 500 index companies and the more than 5,600 Foreign-Owned Company site locations.

“This world-class environment will continue to drive business momentum by getting us even closer to customers, encouraging innovation and ensuring great talent is excited about where they work.”
— Steve Easterbrook, President and CEO of McDonald’s

Companies like Boeing, United Airlines, Walgreens, State Farm Insurance Co., and Kraft Heinz have been headquartered in the state for years — and more companies are following suit.

Caterpillar recently located its new global headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois, just north of Chicago and close to O’Hare International Airport. The company will locate in the Corporate 500 office park and expects to be fully operational by the midyear 2018. The company will employ about 300 people in the new headquarters and has over 12,000 employees in the state.

“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 Jim Umpleby, Caterpillar CEO. “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.”

ConAgra foods opened its Chicago headquarters in 2016 on the 13th floor of Merchandise Mart, a mixed-use building in the River North neighborhood. About 700 employees work inside the new offices.

“Locating our headquarters and our largest business segment in Chicago places us in the heart of one of the world’s business capitals and consumer packaged goods centers, enhancing our ability to attract and retain top talent with a focus on brand building and innovation,” said president and CEO of ConAgra Sean Connolly.

McDonald’s also announced in 2016 its plants to relocate its headquarters from Oak Brook, Illinois, where it has resided for almost 40 years, to downtown Chicago. The company was formerly headquartered in Chicago between 1955 and 1971. The fast-food giant has signed a lease in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood.

“Moving our headquarters to Chicago is another significant step in our journey to build a better McDonald’s,” said President and CEO Steve Easterbrook. “This world-class environment will continue to drive business momentum by getting us even closer to customers, encouraging innovation and ensuring great talent is excited about where they work.”

Savannah King
Managing Editor of Custom Content

Savannah King

Savannah King is managing editor of custom content for Conway Inc. She is an award-winning journalist and previously wrote for The Times in Gainesville, Ga. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and lives near Atlanta.


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