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McClatchy-Tribune  08/29/2014 3:47 PM ET
ADM kicks off 'next century of growth' [Herald & Review, Decatur, Ill. :: ]

Aug. 29--DECATUR -- Archer Daniels Midland Co. began Thursday what Chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz called its next century of growth.

If successful in that plan, the company will do so based out of a new global headquarters at 77 W. Wacker Drive in Chicago after 45 years in Decatur. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Woertz during a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new office, which is located high atop the former United Building.

"It's a time of great energy and optimism going forward," Woertz said. "It's been as strong as it's ever been. Our next decade, our next century starts here in Chicago."

ADM is growing globally with expansions in China, Brazil and a planned $3 billion acquisition of European food ingredients business Wild Flavors, Woertz said.

She said ADM looked at several cities before settling on Chicago in December.

Others have come to the same conclusion as ADM, Emanuel said. He said 27 companies, including ADM, have moved their international or national headquarters to Chicago in the past three years.

Woertz said the reasons for the move include the company's employees being able to easily travel to meet customers and business partners around the world or have customers come to them. The location gives ADM the ability to attract world-class talent as Woertz considers Chicago a great city in which to live and work.

"Chicago represented the best opportunity for ADM in the future and best opportunity for ADM's growth," Woertz said. "Chicago is at the center of the food industry. Many of our large global customers are located here."

Chicago is the third headquarters city in ADM's 112-year history after starting in 1902 for nearly a half-century in Minneapolis, said Victoria Podesta, its chief communications officer.

"We spent the next half century in Decatur, Ill.," Podesta said. "Decatur is at the center of U.S. agricultural production. While we were there, ADM grew into the world's largest corn processor, a leading global processor of soy and cocoa, and a manufacturer of a very wide array of food, feed and industrial ingredients."

Decatur will remain a large part of ADM's operations with its North American base remaining there.

About 70 employees started working in the Chicago office Monday, after Podesta said construction and the move-in were completed on schedule and under budget. Of the employees in the new office, Podesta said 50 relocated from Decatur while another 20 were hired in Chicago.

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