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Well this sucks... all because their CEO lives in Naperville. Sara Lee was located in Three First National, where I worked last summer. Oh, well, at least there will be less obnoxious fat women on the elevators...

April 29, 2005
Sara Lee picks Downers Grove for new HQ
About 1,000 employees will make the 25-mile move

By Julie Johnsson, Greg Hinz and Alby Gallun

Sara Lee Corp. is moving its corporate headquarters from the Loop to west suburban Downers Grove.

The consumer products company said Friday that about 1,000 of its employees will move into new corporate offices at 3500 Lacey Rd, the former Spiegel Inc. headquarters building.

After several weeks scouting new locations, Sara Lee had narrowed its search down to the Spiegel building and a 35-story tower at 222 S. Riverside Plaza in the West Loop. (, April 28). Yet the Downers Grove location “was the clear winner,” Sara Lee President and CEO Brenda C. Barnes said in an email to employees Friday. The building will house the company’s food and beverage and foodservice units, as well as the majority of the company’s corporate staff.

The move is part of a broader restructuring launched in February that will relocate staff from St. Louis and Cincinnati to Downers Grove. It will increase Sara Lee’s Chicago-area workforce by about 400 people.

Roughly 300 people work at Sara Lee’s current headquarters at Three First National Plaza in the Loop. Ms. Barnes said the company’s corporate tax department and functions that report to the company’s controller will not move from Chicago.

“A critical part of our transformation strategy is that – for the first time in Sara Lee’s history – we are bringing operating management together in a single location, where they will also be joined by the corporate staff,” Ms. Barnes said in a statement. “This will provide a natural catalyst for sharing best practices and pursuing growth opportunities across the businesses, as well as provide our employees with great opportunities for professional development and career growth.”

Sara Lee will receive up to $5.4 million in state grants and other subsidies for shifting workers to the Chicago area from Cincinnati and St. Louis.

A spokesman for the state Dept of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said the assistance would have been the same if the company had chosen to centralize operations in downtown Chicago.

About 25 miles from the Loop, Downers Grove is also close to Ms. Barnes home in Naperville – making for a short commute to work.
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