Lake Forest-based auto parts manufacturer Tenneco is the latest Chicago-area company to announce it is hitting the road, with plans to shift its headquarters to Michigan.
The move from the North Shore to an office in Northville Township near Detroit is set to follow Tenneco’s pending $7.1 billion sale to Apollo Global Management, which is expected to close in mid-November. The company did not disclose how many employees are based in Lake Forest but said “several hundred” will work out of the new Michigan headquarters.
“Michigan is home to more than 3,500 Tenneco employees working at multiple sites around the state,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. “The new headquarters location will enable the company to bring together several hundred of its team members in a new office space conveniently located near the company’s major North American original equipment customers.”
Tenneco did not give a date for the relocation.
The publicly traded company makes shock absorbers, mufflers and emission-control devices and is a major original equipment and aftermarket auto parts supplier, with annual revenues of $18 billion last year. Tenneco, which reported a $44 million third-quarter loss Monday, would be taken private by Apollo.
The company, which has 71,000 employees at more than 260 locations worldwide, will maintain a presence in the Chicago area. Tenneco “expects to continue to employ approximately 1,200 team members” at its Skokie campus, which includes the Fel-Pro Brand manufacturing operations and the DRiV aftermarket business regional headquarters, the company said.
Tenneco has called Lake Forest its corporate home since spinning off as a stand-alone automotive parts company in 1999. But its ties to the Chicago area date back further. Tenneco was started as a natural-gas pipeline company by the Chicago Corp. in 1943. The company diversified into a conglomerate with industries such as shipbuilding, packaging, farm and construction equipment, gas transmission, automotive and chemicals.
For most of its history, the parent company was based in Houston.
In 1977, the company acquired shock absorber giant Monroe and combined it with its Walker Muffler division to create Tenneco Automotive. The parent company began selling off its parts in the 1980s, and by 1999, Tenneco had divested of everything but its automotive and packaging subsidiaries. The two remaining businesses were split into separate publicly traded companies, forming Tenneco Automotive and Pactiv.
Tenneco Automotive changed its name back to Tenneco in 2005.
The Chicago area has seen something of a high-profile corporate headquarters exodus this year, including investment firm Citadel, which moved to Miami along with its billionaire founder, Ken Griffin. Caterpillar relocated its headquarters from north suburban Deerfield to an existing office in Irving, Texas. Aerospace giant Boeing moved its headquarters to Arlington, Virginia, after more than 20 years in the West Loop.