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Rahm charming? You bet, says corporate CEO

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel is known more for his pushy politics and relentless fundraising than for his charm, but there might be some of that, too, when it comes to wooing corporate CEO's.

Mitchell Krebs, president and CEO of Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation, revealed as much this week after announcing plans to move his corporate headquarters to downtown Chicago, bringing 100 jobs here and adding 60 new ones.

"The guy's good. He even called me when we had a baby boy five weeks ago to congratulate me. That kind of involvement meant a lot," Krebs told a Cultural Center news conference with the mayor standing behind him.

"He's got quite the personal touch and quite the persuasive touch. It's been a privilege to get to know him."

Coeur d'Alene is a silver and gold mining company that produces metal sold to customers in Europe and Asia at a time when demand for those products is rising for both investment and industrial applications.

"Especially for silver. Silver, in terms of the number of uses, is the most widely-used metal in the world: electronics, medical, the automotive industry, bearings. The list goes on and on," Krebs said.

Coeur d'Alene got $1.68 million in state tax incentives to make the move, but Krebs and Emanuel both agreed that wasn't the clincher. It was O'Hare Airport, Chicago's "great universities and highly-educated workforce" and the presence in Illinois of Caterpillar, which provides 70 percent of Coeur d'Alene's equipment.

"We put on a full-court press to bring this company to Chicago and make sure that the city of Chicago came out on top and we accentuated what, I think, are the inherent strengths which fourteen other world headquarters have also identified in Chicago. In the last 20 months, fourteen companies have moved their world headquarters to the city of Chicago," Emanuel said.

"The common theme constantly is: one, our transportation system; two, our trained workforce and three, a city that is aggressive in recruiting, but also willing to take on the tough decisions to shape its future and make the decisions necessary so a company sees its future tied to a city building its future."

Emanuel, who loves numbering, forgot to mention No. 4: his own charm offensive.

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