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GE unit leaving Erie for Chicago

GE Transportation, a manufacturer of equipment for the rail, mining and marine industries, will relocate its global headquarters to Chicago from Erie, Pa.

The company, a unit of GE, announced the move Wednesday in a news conference with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

About 50 employees will relocate from Erie later this year after the company selects an office location. The employees primarily work in support and service functions. The company anticipates the headquarters staff will grow to 150 employees by 2014.

The company picked Chicago for its headquarters after more than 100 years in Erie because the move will help it improve its global reach, Lorenzo Simonelli, its CEO, said at the news conference.

"As the mayor said, Chicago is a hub to be able to reach the global customer base," he said.

The company did not seek public financial assistance for the move, a spokesman said.

"General Electric Transportation saw a city that's on the move, saw a city that's confident in its future and willing to make the choices that are necessary for its future," Emanuel said when the move was announced.

Erie will remain the headquarters for the company's locomotive business and a key manufacturing site. The company employs 12,000 workers worldwide.