SEATTLE — 17 years ago Tuesday, the Boeing Company moved its world headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. The following is a recap of the event in a historylink.org essay written by David Wilma.
On September 4, 2001, the Boeing Company moves its world headquarters from Seattle to Chicago. The decision to leave Seattle, announced on March 21, 2001, affects about 1,000 jobs. Chicago is chosen because it is "a location central to our operating units, customers and the financial community -- but separate from our existing operations" (Seattle P-I), according to Chief Executive Officer Phil Condit. Seattle had been Boeing's home since its founding in 1916.
When the plan to relocate was announced in March, Boeing embarked on a search for a new location that would suit the firm, which in the preceding years had acquired other aerospace giants such as McDonnell Douglas. New York and Dallas were considered. On May 10, 2001, the company picked Chicago and rented a 36-story building on Riverside Drive in the downtown area.
CEO Condit stated that the decision was not related to the recent power crisis or to an earthquake that struck the Northwest on February 28, 2001.
Only the headquarters moved. Commercial airplanes, Boeing Capital Corp., Air Traffic Management, Connexion by Boeing, Military Aircraft and Missile Systems, Space & Communications, and Phantom Works all remained in the Seattle area. At the time of the move, the company employed 78,400 people in the Seattle area and 198,900 people worldwide.
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Click here to read the full essay from David Wilma on historylink.org.
"Boeing Moving World Corporate Headquarters Out of Seattle," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, (seattlep-i.nwsource.com); James Wallace, "Boeing's Chicago Debut Is Mixed," Ibid., September 5, 2001, p. A-1, A-8.