General Electric said on Wednesday it will move its global headquarters to Boston and sell its offices in Fairfield, Connecticut, and Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.
The decision caps a search that began last summer as Connecticut lawmakers passed a budget that increased taxes by $1.2 billion over two years, drawing protests from some of the state’s biggest corporations.
GE is restructuring to emphasize its digital and industrial capabilities, making a move to a high-tech intellectual center such as Boston attractive.
The company considered Atlanta; Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee, as potential headquarters sites, according to people familiar with the matter.
GE’s move is a blow to Connecticut, which in December reduced corporate taxes to thwart criticism that the state is unfriendly to business. The company has been based in Fairfield for more than 40 years.
GE has about 5,700 employees in Connecticut, including about 800 people employed at the Fairfield headquarters.
However, GE’s presence in the state had been shrinking because much of it was related to its finance arm, GE Capital. The 124-year-old company is in the process of selling off the bulk of GE Capital as part of its restructuring.
Last June, GE Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt said in an email to employees that he asked a team to examine the company’s options to relocate the headquarters to a state with a “more pro-business environment.”
Earlier Wednesday, GE said it would cut up to 6,500 jobs in Europe over the next two years, including 765 in France and 1,300 in Switzerland, as it restructures and integrates its acquisition of Alstom’s energy business.