By Dan Shaw, Evansville Courier & Press

Mead Johnson Nutritionals is looking at Chicago and other cities as a possible location for its corporate offices.

But the company has no intention of leaving Evansville, where its global operations center will remain. Few if any of the 1,500 Mead Johnson employees in Evansville will be affected by the corporate offices, said Pete Paradossi, a company spokesman.

Paradossi said the plans for the new offices are a result of Mead Johnson's move toward becoming independent of its current owner, Bristol-Myers Squibb. Last week, Mead Johnson filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission in preparation of selling between 10 percent and 20 percent of itself to the public through a stock offering.

Working in a large city will make it easier to conduct business throughout the world. Mead Johnson makes Enfamil and similar products and about half of its sales come from overseas.

Having offices near Chicago, for instance, will place executives in close proximity to global-business consultants, leaders in the field of nutrition and an international airport.

Paradossi said Mead Johnson is thinking about putting the corporate offices in the north suburbs of Chicago. It is also looking at other cities, he said, declining to name them.

Between 40 and 60 people will work in the corporate offices, most of them in new positions. Evansville will retain the company's operations in research and development, U.S. sales and marketing and information management, as well as a bulk of the finance and human-resources departments, Paradossi said. Mead Johnson's liquid products will continue to be made in Evansville, he said.

In April, Bristol-Myers announced its plan to make Mead Johnson into an independent company. It was the latest of several steps the company had taken in recent months in an attempt to concentrate more on its main business of developing and selling medical drugs.

Before announcing its plans for Mead Johnson, Bristol-Myers had sold ConvaTec, a company specializing in therapy and surgical care, and a medical-imaging unit.

Mead Johnson owns factories in seven cities and employs about 5,000 workers throughout the world. It had net sales of about $2.6 billion in 2007 and profits of about $422.5 million.