Johnson Controls says Tyco merger will benefit Milwaukee area

But deal has "no bearing" on possible downtown office tower, spokesman says

Johnson Controls Inc. headquarters
The Johnson Controls Inc. operational headquarters in Glendale.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:04 pm

A spokesman for Johnson Controls Inc. says the company’s merger with Tyco International will benefit the Milwaukee area, but also said no decision had been made on a possible downtown office tower.

Johnson Controls.
Johnson Controls.

“We see this as having a lot of upside for Milwaukee,” Fraser Engerman said, although he added he did not want to speculate on job numbers.

The Glendale-based multi-industrial firm announced Monday it would be moving its global headquarters to Cork, Ireland after completing the merger with Tyco. The company currently has about 3,400 employees in the Milwaukee area and 130,000 worldwide.

The primary operational headquarters for the combined company will remain in the Milwaukee area. Engerman said that references to Milwaukee by the company were intended to include all of the company’s operations in the area, not just the Glendale campus that currently serves as the global headquarters.

A year ago BizTimes Milwaukee reported that Johnson Controls was working on plans for a 50-story, 1.2 million-square-foot building near the lakefront in downtown Milwaukee. Later the company agreed to split the costs of a $500,000 development feasibility study for the site with the city.

Engerman reiterated that no decision had been made about a possible office tower in downtown Milwaukee and said the merger has “no bearing” on that.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said on Monday that he was optimistic that the Johnson Controls-Tyco would be good for Milwaukee and said he hoped the company would grow in Milwaukee in the future.

“We are going to work with them on a number of fronts to make sure we do everything we can to preserve jobs here,” Barrett said.

Engerman also said Johnson Controls chairman and chief executive officer Alex Molinaroli will “likely retire” after completing the terms laid out in the merger announcement. The deal calls for him to serve as chairman and CEO of the merged company for the first 18 months and then spend a one-year term as executive chair. Molinaroli has been leading a dramatic transformation of Johnson Controls.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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