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European Chapter meets in Madrid; Winter Conference focuses on benchmarking, Tony Maggiore receives chapter award.

Benchmarking and Managing the Tax Function was the subject of the two-day winter conference held by TEI's European Chapter at the Hotel Villa Magna in Madrid. Nearly 100 TEI members and guests attended the February 2-3 program, which was hosted by Ignacio Longarte of Hewlett-Packard Company and featured speakers from Deloitte & Touche's European offices.

Chapter president Mark Gyorog of Gemplus Management and Trading opened the conference with an update on recent chapter activities. TEI Vice President-Region IX Anthony Maggiore and TEI General Counsel Mary Lou Fahey provided reports on proposed organizational changes within the Institute and on the Institute's 2006 membership initiative. Carol A. Schapira of Shell International Exploration and Production BV presented the results of a chapter survey. An update on Spanish transfer pricing rules by Mr. Longarte and a member roundtable completed the chapter meeting portion of the program.

The technical program featured sessions on global trends in the tax department, analyzing a company's effective tax rate, and tax key performance indicators. In a session on an investor's view of the tax function, Rob Lake of Henderson Global Investments reported on a recent survey of U.K. companies on the amount of boardlevel attention given to tax issues. He explained that although tax is a normal risk management issue, it has not received sufficient "strategic board attention," concluding that company boards need to better understand tax risks and the consequences of successful challenges by tax authorities to tax strategies.

On the second day of the program, a panel of TEI members discussed how their companies manage with limited resources. Arjan Dobber of Lenovo, Lluis M. Fargas of Alcoa Europe SA, and Joan Van Diemen of Hewlett-Packard Company focused on balancing between internal and external resources and ways to spread costs among functions.

Later, Olivier Hermann of 3M Company participated in a panel on engaging and working with outside tax advisers. Other topics included characteristics of a world-class tax function and tax risk management and strategy.

During the program, the chapter presented Mr. Maggiore an award for his service to the chapter and the Institute. Mr. Maggiore was a charter member of the chapter and its second president, and at the Institute level, serves on TEI's Task Force on Structure and Governance.

A highlight of the two days was a Spanish wine tasting before the Thursday night dinner, sponsored by Deloitte & Touche.

The chapter's next meeting will be held May 23-24, 2006, in Budapest on EU Accession Two Years On. For information, visit the chapter website at www.tei.org.
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Publication:Tax Executive
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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