AFTER 44 years in Decatur, Ill., Archer Daniels Midland is looking for a new home. The grain trading and processing giant announced Sept. 23 that it would establish a new global headquarters and customer center – somewhere other than its current hometown.
“Our company is growing and becoming more global and more customer-centric,” said Patricia Woertz, ADM chairman and CEO. “To continue to succeed, we need a global center in a location that allows us to travel and work efficiently with customers and employees throughout the world. We also need an environment where we can attract and retain employees with diverse skills, and where family members can find ample career opportunities.”
While plans are still in the exploratory stages and the company underscored its ongoing commitment to Decatur, Woertz’ comments sound like the company is a bit bearish on Illinois’ fifteenth-largest city.
Decatur, sometimes known as the “soybean capital of the world,” has been home to ADM since its move from Minneapolis in 1968, and will remain the company’s North American headquarters. The city lost nearly 20% of its population from 1980 and 2010, with a population of more than 76,000 as of the 2010 Census.
ADM employs more than 4,400 in Decatur, and Woertz said no layoffs there were expected as part of the move. Rather, the company will create a global headquarters and “customer center” with some 100 corporate staffers relocating from Decatur, and another 100 positions added via a new information technology center at the new site.
The company is in discussions with public officials of potential new homes, and did not disclose what cities are being considered. In addition to its North American headquarters in Decatur, the company maintains regional headquarters in Switzerland, Brazil and China.
“To ensure that Decatur remains a strong and vibrant community for years to come, we are also announcing several multi-year financial commitments,” Woertz said. “We are investing in Decatur’s economic development to help ensure it flourishes economically, in its schools to foster a strong workforce pipeline, and in critical social services to enhance the quality of community life.”
Those investments include a $250,000 commitment for each of the next three years to fund an enhanced public-private partnership and unified marketing campaign for the city and Macon County, as well as a $500,000 contribution annually for 5 years to the public school district. ADM said it would maintain its other community support commitments, tallying more than $1 million annually for at least 10 years.
ADM is already a global company, doing business in more than 140 countries. Earlier in the year it successfully brokered an agreement to acquire Australian grain handler GrainCorp, a transaction that is expected to close later this year.