Atlanta region can brag about having 16 Fortune 500 company headquarters

By Maria Saporta

It’s getting to a point where Atlanta will no longer have to exaggerate its role as a home for Fortune 500 companies.

For years, Atlanta has been inaccurately claiming that it has the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters among cities in the country. A story I wrote back in 2011 explains how this misleading statement became one of our selling points.

While Atlanta may not be able to have those bragging rights for years (if ever), it is steadily adding to its total number of Fortune 500 headquarters.

Out of Georgia’s 18 Fortune 500 company headquarters, 16 are based in metro Atlanta – an increase of two from just last year.

The 2014 Fortune 500 list has just been released. It officially added just one new Fortune 500 company to Atlanta’s ranks – Asbury Automotive. The auto company, which moved its headquarters to Duluth in 2008, had dropped off the Fortune 500 list during the downturn, but now is back on the list at No. 472.

But the official 2014 Fortune 500 list did not include Atlanta’s newest Fortune 500 company — PulteGroup — which the magazine still considers to be a Michigan-based company.

Last year, PulteGroup announced that it would be moving its corporate headquarters to Atlanta. It has already started moving its operations to One Capital City Plaza in Buckhead — a move that should be completed sometime this summer. Pulte even held its 2014 annual meeting in Atlanta as a way of cementing the fact that this is its new home.

When Pulte, the largest home builder in the country, announced it was moving to Atlanta, it just missed being a Fortune 500 company, coming in at No. 501. That denied Atlanta the ability of crowing that the relocation meant that it was getting another Fortune 500 company headquarters.

State by state listing of Fortune 500 companies (Source: Fortune Magazine)

State by state listing of Fortune 500 companies  – click to enlarge (Source: Fortune Magazine)

At a Metro Atlanta Chamber meeting on May 15, Pulte CEO Richard Dugas Jr. told me he had been informed by Fortune that his company had cracked the 500 list. Pulte is No. 446.

This is the way Crain’s Detroit Business acknowledged the situation:

“Michigan companies briefly regained 20 slots on the elite Fortune 500 list of top revenue-producing companies this week. But the advancement is very short-lived. The list includes 20 companies currently based in Michigan, but Bloomfield Hills-based PulteGroup’s previously announced headquarters move to Atlanta is nearly complete.”

The Metro Atlanta Chamber also was quick to highlight that the region had gained two new Fortune 500 companies since 2013. The Atlanta region also has 28 Fortune 1000 companies, the Chamber’s website stated.

But unfortunately, the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s website still includes the inaccurate and flawed information from earlier years under this headline:

Atlanta ranks third in the nation among cities with the most FORTUNE 500 Headquarters, according to the 2013 FORTUNE list.

Atlanta ranks third in the nation among cities with the most FORTUNE 500 Headquarters, according to the 2013 FORTUNE list. Since Atlanta hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics, the city has consistently ranked in the top five cities with the most FORTUNE 500 Headquarters. Twenty-six metro Atlanta headquartered companies placed among the latest FORTUNE 1000, of which fourteen are among the FORTUNE 500. Eighteen FORTUNE 1000 companies headquartered in metro Atlanta ranked higher on the FORTUNE list than in 2011. Metro Atlanta’s headquartered FORTUNE 1000 companies generated aggregate revenues of $345.6 billion, of which 90 percent was attributed to the FORTUNE 500. 

This year, Fortune was wise not to repeat its misleading analysis of earlier years when it tried to rank which cities had the greatest concentrations of Fortune 500 companies. Instead the magazine decided to list Fortune 500 companies by zip codes, which makes it a little harder to calculate which metro areas have the most.

Still it’s pretty obvious that New York and Houston are still in the No. 1 and No. 2 spot. Of the 54 Fortune 500 headquarters in New York, 47 of them are based in New York City. The Houston Business Chronicle had a story a few days ago stating that the largest city in Texas had 26 Fortune 500 headquarters while Dallas had 18 Fortune 500 headquarters.

World Business Chicago just released its list of 31 Fortune 500 company headquarters on the 2014 list. And Minneapolis-St. Paul has 18 Fortune 500 headquarters on the 2014 list.

In addition to Atlanta, other cities with large concentrations of Fortune 500 company headquarters include San Francisco, Boston and Detroit, which would have 19 home offices even without the PulteGroup.

No matter where we rank compared to other cities, we certainly have a respectable number  Fortune 500 headquarters with 16.

Maybe now we can start just saying the truth. We have gone from being a regional headquarters city to a national and international headquarters city.

So let’s just say that. We don’t need to tell untruths and half-truths when our own story now stands on its own.

 

Georgia companies on the FORTUNE 500 for 2014:

Georgia companies on the FOURTUNE 1000 for 2014:

To see the full list, please visit here.

Map showing concentration of Fortune 500 company headquarters (Source: Fortune magazine)

Map showing concentration of Fortune 500 company headquarters (Source: Fortune magazine)

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

5 replies
  1. Chris Brooks says:

    Excerpt from a different article:
    Sure, Atlanta has the busiest airport (by design …and that might not be the best business model); Houston has the 12th…  with the 2nd largest port and a prime location for transporting OIL to Houston (for refining and transporting) from all over the continent.  Houston’s population growth has not slowed since the 30’s.
    Also, if measuring Highest-income places by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Per_capita_income, Harris County places four communities, Dallas County places one, Bexar County (San Antonio’s home) places one while Georgia has NONE.  
    If one were to combine DFW and IAH flights and compare them to Atlanta flights, one would find that TEXAS airports dwarf GEORGIA airports (without considering SAT or AUS).
    So, Georgia cannot compete with Texas in transportation (SEA, LAND or AIR), Heath Care, Economy, Public Transportation, Highway systems, Toll Roads…. yadda, yadda, yadda…    Atlanta has fewer than 500,000 people.   and Fulton County has just over 1million residents.  Houston has 2.1 million residents and Harris County has well over 4 million.  
    Georgia has 16 Fortune 500 companies.  Houston has 26.  Dallas has 18. Texas, as a whole, has 52 of the Fortune 500.
    Quit posturing, Atlanta.  You have the worlds greatest brand (Coca-Cola) and the world’s greatest airline (Delta).  Be proud.
    Don’t, however, be disillusioned that you have anything on Houston… or Texas.  You don’t.
    – See more at: http://saportareport.com/blog/2013/05/greater-houston-may-be-bigger-than-atlanta-region-but-is-it-better/#sthash.M04gdXxe.dpufReport

    Reply

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