By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

Caterpillar Inc. announced Jan. 31 that it will begin shifting its global headquarters to the Chicago area later this year and shelving plans for a new complex at its longtime home of Peoria, Illinois. The firm attributed the decisions to continuing challenging market conditions over the past five years and the need to prioritize resources to focus on growth.

“Caterpillar’s Board of Directors has been discussing the benefits of a more accessible, strategic location for some time,” Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby said in a news release. “Since 2012, about two-thirds of Caterpillar’s sales and revenues have come from outside the United States. Locating our headquarters closer to a global transportation hub, such as Chicago, means we can meet with our global customers, dealers and employees more easily and frequently.”

A limited number of senior executives will begin moving into leased office space in Chicago. Once the still undisclosed new location is fully operational, Caterpillar expects about 300 employees to be based there.