The shareholders of Aon Corporation (Aon) have approved a move of the company's headquarters from Chicago to London with an overwhelmingly majority during a special shareholder meeting. 268 million shares voted in favour of the move, 4.3 million against and about 1.3 million had abstained.
Surprise to employees and outside world
Mid-February, Aon announced the plan to move its headquarters from the United States to the United Kingdom. Due to Aon’s deep roots in the Chicago region, this news came as a surprise to the employees and the outside world. Analysts immediately noted that the purpose of the move, which also caused a lot of resistance from top management, was to obtain a tax benefit, also known as “corporate inversion”.
Access to Europe and Asia
During the shareholder meeting, the company received several questions about the reason for the move. Aon CEO Greg Case replied that the move of 15 to 20 key workers would give Aon better access to the Asia and European markets. The answer was in line with the official press release given by the consulting firm in February. In the press release Aon also gave two additional reasons: a reduction of its tax rate and an improvement of its liquidity position.