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Tyson Foods moves corporate jobs to Arkansas in latest blow to Chicago

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Tyson Foods Inc is joining other corporate heavyweights in moving jobs out of Illinois.

The biggest U.S. meat company by sales said on Wednesday it will relocate all corporate employees from offices in Chicago and suburban Downers Grove, along with those in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, to its headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas.

It is the latest shakeup for Tyson, which has about 1,000 corporate employees in the Chicago-area and South Dakota offices. Overall the meat company has about 120,000 U.S. employees, with about 114,000 of those working in production plants.

Tyson will begin a "phased relocation" of the corporate employees early next year, according to a statement. It said the move will "foster closer collaboration, enhance team member agility and enable faster decision making."

Members of the Tyson family, which founded Tyson Foods, and several top executives have long been based in Arkansas.

A company spokesperson said no layoffs are associated with the relocations. It was not known how many office workers would make the move.

Representatives for Chicago's mayor and Illinois's governor did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tyson's decision deals another blow to Chicago's business community after hedge fund Citadel said in June it was moving its global headquarters from the city to Miami. Boeing also said this year it would move its headquarters to Arlington, Virginia, from Chicago, and Caterpillar announced plans to relocate to Texas from a Chicago suburb.

Kellogg, however, based the corporate headquarters for its largest business, snacks, in Chicago after announcing a split into three independent companies this summer.

Tyson gained its Chicago office when it acquired Hillshire Brands in 2014 and then ran its prepared foods business there.

Last week, Tyson said Noelle O'Mara, who was group president of prepared foods, left the job and would be replaced by Stewart Glendinning, who was chief financial officer. John R. Tyson, the son of the chairman of the company's board of directors, took over as finance chief this week. (Reporting by Tom Polansek Editing by Nick Zieminski)