Headquarters of Kraft Business Heading to Downtown Chicago

Spokesman Michael Mullen said the move brings Kraft back to its roots

Kraft Heinz says it is relocating the headquarters of the Kraft business from Northfield, Illinois, to downtown Chicago early next year.

Spokesman Michael Mullen said in an emailed statement on Thursday that the company signed a long-term lease agreement to have employees on five floors of the AON Center.

Mullen said the move brings Kraft back to its roots, as Chicago was where founder J.L. Kraft first started selling cheese to local merchants in 1903.

“You have a Fortune 50 company saying that when they think of their future, it’s with Chicago,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel told NBC Chicago of the move. “It brings hundreds and hundreds of jobs and economic opportunities that come with it and it keeps the momentum going.”

Heinz will keep its headquarters in Pittsburgh.

"Kraft started in Chicago and I could not be more pleased that the company is returning to its roots – recognizing the talent we have, the growing and vibrant business community that we have, and the opportunities that exist in Chicago to connect with more customers and companies," Emanuel said in an earlier statement.

Earlier this month Kraft shareholders approved the sale of the company to ketchup maker H.J. Heinz, creating one of the world's largest food companies with annual revenue of about $28 billion. The deal was first announced in March.

The combined company will have in its stable brands that, in addition to Kraft and Heinz, include Jell-O, Oscar Mayer, Velveeta and Ore-Ida.

Shares of Kraft Heinz Co. gained $1.26 to $77.97 in morning trading.

Emanuel said to expect more big moves of this kind for the city.

“We are not done on the corporate recruitment, just so you know," he said. "We are on it all the time. We are [currently] active with four or five companies."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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