Mayor Rahm Emanuel: GE Capital to bring 1,000 jobs to city
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org May 23, 2011 11:26AM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel makes an announcement about GE Capital Chicago's commitment to bring jobs to Chicago, Monday, May 23, 2011. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times
Updated: June 25, 2011 12:23AM
With no promise of a city subsidy, GE Capital, the financial services arm of General Electric, on Monday announced plans to “double-down on Chicago” — by expanding operations here and creating 1,000 jobs over the next three years.
The expansion comes 2½ months after Mayor Rahm Emanuel had a one-on-one meeting with GE CEO Jeff Immelt, whom Emanuel has known personally since his days in Congress and as White House chief of staff.
Emanuel did not go so far as to claim that his relationship with Immelt delivered the sorely needed jobs to Chicago. Nor did he claim that his plans to “re-invent” city government, solve the city’s financial crisis and improve Chicago Public Schools and public safety were the deciding factor.
But the new mayor argued that all of those factors were at least part of the equation.
“I think Jeff will now change his e-mail and his phone because I have both. I called him and asked, ‘While you’re in town, do you want to grab a drink?’ Now, obviously having that experience and having both his e-mail and his phone number was an advantage,” Emanuel said. GE Capital already has more than 1,000 Chicago employees and 4,000 statewide.
The new jobs will include skilled commercial, technical and regulatory positions to support GE Capital, Americas. At least some of the new employees will provide functional support for GE Capital overall. The company, now located at 500 W. Monroe, is now searching for new offices.
The company describes itself as a “provider of lending and leasing to Main Street businesses” across the country, with first-quarter earnings of $428 million, up 60 percent from a year ago.
Its parent company, U.S. GE Capital, Americas, is a leading commercial financing provider of loans and leases to more than 400,000 mid-market businesses.
Boeing Co.’s world headquarters was lured to Chicago with a $61 million package of state and city incentives that delivered just a fraction of the 1,000 jobs now promised by GE Capital.
Why is GE Capital willing to, as the mayor put it, “double-down” on Chicago without a subsidy?
Dan Henson, president and CEO of GE Capital, Americas, said in part, it’s because the company already has $5 billion in outstanding commitments to 11,000 Illinois customers. And that’s not the only reason it “makes sense to grow here,” he said.
“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,” Henson said.
Emanuel said he is also in discussions with “a number of other businesses” in hopes of persuading them to either re-locate to Chicago or to expand their Chicago operations. He refused to name names.