GE will move its corporate headquarters from Fairfield to Boston, the company announced on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
“GE aspires to be the most competitive company in the world,” its chairman and CEO, Jeff Immelt, said in statement on Wednesday. “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.”
There is no material financial impact to GE related to the cost of the move, according to the corporate statement. GE’s press release noted that 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 company threatened to leave during 2015, saying that Connecticut leaders continue to make the Nutmeg State unfriendly to business. New taxes aimed at businesses in the latest Connecticut two-year budget were cited by the corporation.
State Sen. Tony Hwang, a Fairfield Republican whose district includes GE, told The Hartford Courant that GE’s move will be felt across southwestern Connecticut by businesses, real estate, and charities.
“It’s an iconic organization that means more than dollars and cents,” Hwang told courant.com. “It’s hard to describe the feeling. It’s an overall psychological blow to the state of Connecticut. It’s the small, mid-size business trying to start up — saying, ‘I’m being taxed. I’m being regulated, and no one listens to me in Hartford.’ This is not just about GE. Is GE the biggest elephant? Absolutely.”
Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau asked several questions in a Tweet around noon Wednesday:
#FairfieldCT – GE HQ is the headline. Many questions. How many EE move? How many stay? How many layoffs? What is timing? How many phases?
— Michael Tetreau (@miketetreau) January 13, 2016
“GE wasn’t looking for a deal,” Sate Rep. John Frey, a Ridgefield Republican, told The Courant. “They just wanted the taxes that were imposed to go away. They didn’t go away entirely. They were hoping that that the root cause – unfunded pensions – would be addressed, and they weren’t. … Their confidence in Connecticut government was shaken.”
The GE headquarters will be located in the Seaport District of Boston, the company said. Connecticut and New York 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 plans to host a public briefing in Boston with government officials, and business and community leaders, on Feb. 18.