Tyson Foods sixth company to leave Illinois in 2022

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Tyson Foods is joining the list of companies relocating employees out of Illinois. Offices in Chicago and Downers Grove are closing for good, with 500 corporate jobs moving to their Arkansas headquarters in early 2023.

Employees at the Tyson office in Dakota Dunes, S.D., will also be relocated to Arkansas. CEO Donnie King said consolidating employees will help the company work more efficiently.

“Bringing our talented corporate team members and businesses together under one roof unlocks greater opportunities to share perspectives and ideas, while also enabling us to act quickly to solve problems and provide the innovative products solutions that our customers deserve and value,” he said.

Tyson had been in Chicago since 2014 after it purchased Hillshire Brands for $8 billion, acquiring a research and development center in Downers Grove and an office in the West Loop.

Illinois also is losing employees from Citadel, Boeing, CaterpillarFTX and Highland Ventures to other states ­– all moves announced this year.

McDonald’s Corp. plans to move workers to Chicago from its Romeoville, Ill., location, but CEO Chris Kempczinski said crime makes it harder to recruit talent.

“The fact is that there are fewer large companies headquartered in Chicago this year than last year,” he said, adding it’s more difficult convincing executives to come to Chicago than a few years ago.

In response, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot referenced the companies that have started in Chicago, saying Kempczinski should “educate himself before he speaks.”

Citadel CEO Ken Griffin said Chicago employees became crime victims and workers kept requesting to be relocated. Crime was one of many factors prompting him to move the venture capital firm’s headquarters to Miami.

From 2017 to 2022, Illinois’ ranking in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index dropped 13 spots, the second-highest decline in the nation. CNBC ranks Illinois as the third-least friendly state for businesses.

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