May
23

New Chicago Mayor Already Bringing in More Jobs

May 23, 2011

It pays to have a well-connected mayor.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and top executives from GE Capital held a news conference on Monday to announce that the financial services arm of General Electric will “double-down on Chicago” by expanding its company here over the next three years and creating 1,000 new jobs.

The positions will almost double the number of employees the company has in Chicago; 500 of them could be available in the next year.

GE Capital is situated at 500 W. Monroe but will search for new offices when it expands.

So why Chicago?

It seems that Mayor Emanuel knew GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt from his days in Congress and as President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff.

On March 8, when GE was still deciding in which city to expand, Emanuel met with Immelt for a friendly chat.

Thanks in part to that meeting, “Chicago has now become for GE its second city,” said Emanuel.

“If this didn’t make economic sense to GE and their bottom line, they wouldn’t have done it,” the mayor said. “Having a personal relationship obviously didn’t hurt. It pushed it a little, tilted it a little. But we have fundamental strengths in our city: our workforce, our location, their footprint. It’s a good place to do business.”

Mayor Emanuel said there was no incentive or city subsidy promised.

GE Capital, which loans money and leases major equipment like airplanes, currently has about 1,100 employees in Chicago and approximately 4,000 across the state. Its parent company, U.S. GE Capital, Americas, is the leading commercial financing provider of loans and leases to more than 400,000 businesses.

The added jobs in Chicago will be in sales, marketing, technical and regulatory positions.

Currently based at 500 W. Monroe, the company will also be looking for some new Chicago real estate.

“It makes sense to grow here, this is already a large location for us,” said GE Capitals America president and CEO Dan Henson, who noted that the company already has $5 billion in commitments to 11,000 Illinois customers.

“There is a wealth of financial services and banking talent available to us in Chicago at very good value. It’s a great place to work and live. It’s a pro-business city.

“We have read and been in discussion and understand [Mayor Rahm Emanuel's] economic innovation platform as well as his reinvention of government. We’re big supporters and think that is heading in the right direction.

“Pound for pound, Chicago provides a lot of value for us and is a great place to be.”

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Tracey

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