ABB, a power and automation technology company, announced that the company’s North American corporate headquarters will be moved to Cary, N.C., from Norwalk, Conn. The move is effective immediately, although 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,” Enrique Santacana, president and CEO of ABB in North America, said. “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.”

Key factors

Among the primary factors behind the move are significant cost savings and a favorable business climate in the Triangle, as well as closer proximity to growing customer and employee bases. Commercial office property rates in Cary are close to 50 percent lower than in Norwalk.

The Raleigh-Cary area was rated by the U.S. Census as the fastest-growing metropolitan region in the country in 2008, and it has attracted numerous high-tech corporate headquarters and startups in recent years.

ABB’s existing Triangle presence

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. This includes ABB’s Power Products and Power Systems North America divisional headquarters, and its Corporate Research Center, based in Raleigh on the progressive Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University. The ABB Cary office last year was selected to house the ABB Human Resources Service Center and the ABB Shared Accounting Services (SAS), the new headquarters for human-resources and accounting-services functions for U.S. employees.

“We look forward to becoming a greater part of the Triangle business community and contributing to the tremendous growth and success of the region,” Santacana said.