GE's announcementthis week that it would be moving its corporate headquarters to Boston’s trendy Seaport District from its suburban location in Fairfield, Conn., has lit up the news wires over the past 24 hours with analysis of what the move may mean for GE and for the Boston economy.
It’s the second move to the Boston area by a large electrical conglomerate in the past few years Schneider Electric announced its move to Andover, Mass., in 2014. The announcement came as a blow to the state of Connecticut, where generations of GE executives worked at the Fairfield headquarters and other locations around the state.
According to a report at www.bostonglobe.com , Boston lured GE with a $145 million in incentives and beat out New York and Providence, R.I. But in a press statement , Jeff Immelt, the company’s chairman and CEO, said the move was all about being closer to the Boston area’s technological talent.
“GE aspires to be the most competitive company in the world,” he said. “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.”
The press statement said GE has been considering the composition and location of its headquarters for more than three years and reviewed more than 40 potential locations. It said 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.
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.
Reports on GE’s Big Move: