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Tetreau: GE Move Will Affect Jobs, Homes In Fairfield And Beyond

Fairfield Daily Voice, January 13, 2016

by Casey Donahue

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- After months of looking for a new home, General Electric made it official Wednesday, announcing it will move its corporate headquarters from Fairfield to Boston.

Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau said Wednesday he was very concerned about General Electric employees in the wake of the company's sudden announcement that it will move its corporate headquarters out of town to Boston.

"GE aspires to be the most competitive company in the world," said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt of New Canaan. "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 and 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."

GE has been considering a move for more than three years, and began a formal review in June with a list of 40 potential locations. 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 company assets.

The company said there is no material financial impact to GE related to the cost of the move, and that Massachusetts and the City of Boston structured a package of incentives that provide benefits to the state and city, while also helping offset the costs of the relocation to GE.

GE will sell its offices on its 85-acre campus in Fairfield and at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City to further offset the cost of the move. GE is the largest taxpayer in the town of Fairfield.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said the departure of the Fortune 500 company was a disappointment to Connecticut. "Luckily we've won more than we've lost — but frankly this hurts," Malloy said of corporate moves into and out of the state. "We're not going to win every one of these." GE had expressed frustration with attracting "job applicants from the New York market," Malloy said. The company was looking for "proximity to a more urban environment."

He said the company would move 200 of its 800 headquarters workers to Massachusetts and that the move would come in phases, beginning this summer. The company already has nearly 5,000 employees across the state of Massachusetts.

The new headquarters will be located in the Seaport District of Boston. Employees will move to a temporary location in Boston starting in summer of 2016, with a full move completed in several phases by 2018.

"While I am disappointed that GE is moving approximately 200 jobs to Boston, it is, however, an undeniable fact that Connecticut’s economy is growing and creating jobs," said state Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff. "Businesses around the country and the globe know Connecticut for its business competitiveness, worker productivity, and highly educated workforce. That’s why GE will still have thousands of employees in Connecticut.”

"I'm immensely disappointed," Fairfield First Selectman Mike Tetreau told the Connecticut Post.

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