ABB Relocates North American Corporate Headquarters

Key factors in the selection of Cary, N.C., were its close proximity to significant customer and employee bases, and its favorable real estate market and business climate.

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Zurich-based power and automation technology supplier ABB ( announced on April 14 that the company’s North American corporate headquarters will be moved to Cary, N.C., from Norwalk, Conn. The move is effective immediately, the company said, though the transition will be a gradual one as ABB transfers various executive and administrative functions to its new home over the next several years.

Cary was selected over four other U.S. cities considered for the North American headquarters. The Cary office will oversee more than 15,000 employees in operations across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

“ABB already has a significant and growing presence in the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area in terms of proximity to some of our key customers, our employee base, and various divisional headquarters,” said Enrique Santacana, president and chief executive officer of ABB in North America. “After a thorough analysis of economic trends, commercial property rates and other cities, it became clear that there were many advantages in moving our headquarters to Cary.”

ABB claims the world’s leading position as a provider of transmission and distribution equipment for the power grid and renewable energy sources, including grid modernization—the “smart grid.” It is also a leader in automation products and process automation systems.

Key factors

Among primary factors behind the move are significant cost savings and a favorable business climate in the so-called “Research Triangle” of North Carolina, which includes the Raleigh-Cary area, as well as Durham and Chapel Hill. Commercial office property rates in Cary are close to 50 percent lower than in Norwalk, Conn, ABB said. The Raleigh-Cary area was rated by the United States Census as the fastest-growing metropolitan region in the country in 2008, and has attracted numerous high-tech corporate headquarters and start-ups in recent years.

ABB already has a significant and growing presence in the Raleigh market and across the state. ABB employs about 500 people in the Triangle, nearly 900 in North Carolina, and an additional 1,200 in adjacent states.


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