GE to move headquarters from Connecticut to Boston

FILE - This Nov. 7, 2002, file photo, shows the General Electric Co., corporate headquarters campus in Fairfield, Conn. GE's consideration of moving their headquarters out of Connecticut was among the top stories in the state for 2015. (AP Photo/Bob Child, File)

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH)– General Electric Co. has announced they will relocate its global headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut to Boston, Massachusetts.

GE executives called Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and their staff on Wednesday morning to say a formal announcement was coming.

The terms of the deal, as well as the exact location of the headquarters are unknown, however GE says they will be in the Seaport District of the city. The company says they plan to move their corporate headquarters to a temporary location in Boston this summer before their full move is completed in 2018. They also plan to sell their offices in Fairfield to offset the costs.

GE employs about 800 people in Connecticut. It is unknown how many employees will relocate to their new location.

Early Wednesday afternoon, GE released the following statement on the move:

GE today announced that it has selected Boston for its corporate headquarters location.

“GE aspires to be the most competitive company in the world,” said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. “Today, GE is a $130 billion high-tech global industrial company, one that is leading the digital transformation of industry. We want to be at the center of an ecosystem that shares our aspirations. Greater Boston is home to 55 colleges and universities. Massachusetts spends more on research & development than any other region in the world, and Boston attracts a diverse, technologically-fluent workforce focused on solving challenges for the world. We are excited to bring our headquarters to this dynamic and creative city.”

GE has been considering the composition and location of its headquarters for more than three years. The Company began its formal review in June 2015, with a list of 40 potential locations. Boston was selected after a careful evaluation of the business ecosystem, talent, long-term costs, quality of life for employees, connections with the world and proximity to other important company assets.

There is no material financial impact to GE related to the cost of the move. Working with GE, Massachusetts and the City of Boston structured a package of incentives that provides benefits to the State and City, while also helping offset the costs of the relocation to GE. GE will sell its offices in Fairfield and at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City to further offset the cost of the move.

The content of GE’s headquarters will also change, with more emphasis on innovation. In Boston, GE will have roughly 800 people; 200 from corporate staff and 600 digital industrial product managers, designers and developers split between GE Digital, Current, robotics and Life Sciences. A GE Digital Foundry will be created for co-creation, incubation and product development with customers, startups and partners. The remainder of administration will be placed in shared service operations throughout the Company.

GE has a significant existing presence in Massachusetts, with nearly 5,000 employees across the state in businesses including Aviation, Oil & Gas and Energy Management. In 2014, GE moved its Life Sciences headquarters to Marlborough, and in 2015 GE announced its energy services start-up, Current, would also be headquartered in Boston.

The headquarters will be located in the Seaport District of Boston. Employees will move to a temporary location in Boston starting in the summer of 2016, with a full move completed in several steps by 2018. GE will host a public briefing in Boston with government officials, and business and community leaders, on February 18, 2016.”

Local lawmakers are also releasing statements regarding GE’s relocation announcement.

“This news is devastating for thousands of employees, their families, and the entire Fairfield community,” said Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven). “The people of Connecticut deserve an apology…They deserve an apology from every Democrat lawmaker whose disrespectful comments mocked companies like GE when they raised legitimate concerns about the state budget. These same Democrats then had to backtrack, after they forced legislation upon companies without listening to them or even having a conversation about their perspective.”

“I know our community is strong,” said Senator Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield). “I know we will all work hard with one another to build back what we are losing. I know we will come together to support the employees losing their jobs, the local companies that will lose business, and the many nonprofits and community organizations that benefited from having GE’s headquarters as a major philanthropic force in our town. GE is an incredible economic driver, and the jobs that do remain here will continue to benefit our community and support many families. I plan to work closely with all lawmakers as well as state and local leaders to ensure Connecticut is taking the steps we need to grow jobs, support the community, and create an environment where businesses want to move in, not out.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy held a press conference to discuss GE’s departure from the state.

Today’s decision is a clear signal that Connecticut must continue to adapt to a changing business climate. Businesses care about transportation infrastructure, and we will continue to make new investments to create a more modern transportation future. Businesses care about talent, and we will continue our investments in our higher education system in order to connect them to the needs of high-tech employers. Businesses care about state government fostering new areas of innovation, and we will continue to invest in high-tech startups, small businesses, and major employers like United Technologies. And businesses care about how states budget, and now is the time to continue our bipartisan efforts to reform our budget, find new ways to pay our pensions, and create a more sustainable and predictable state budget.

Taken as a whole, there is no denying that Connecticut has had more good days than days like today. Of course we are disappointed, and we know that many in Connecticut share that frustration. While GE’s headquarters may be leaving, I have been assured that the company will continue to have many employees working here in Connecticut. Equally important, GE will continue to work with and support many smaller businesses throughout our state.

Over the past five years, Connecticut has partnered with 1,945 companies to create more than 19,900 new jobs and retain an additional 75,000 jobs. Now is the time to meet our challenges head on, work together, and find new innovative ways to meet them.”

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