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TEI Charters European Chapter.

The following report was submitted by Anthony J. Maggiore, who is 1999-2000 President of TEI's European Chapter.

Tax professionals in Europe will remember May 26, 1999 as the date that the first TEI chapter outside of North America received its charter. On that date, TEI President Lester Ezrati and Executive Director Michael Murphy presented the new charter to Lisa Peschcke-Koedt, current chapter president of the new chapter, and to Anthony Maggiore, incoming president. The event marked the culmination of over a year's effort by the chapter's founders, and the dawn of a new era for TEI.

This initiative had humble beginnings as a task force established within TEI's International Tax Committee to increase TEI membership and activities overseas. Globalization of multinationals had all but required overseas headquarters or service centers, often located in Europe, and the staffing of these sites often included U.S. and local tax professionals. An overseas assignment made it all but impossible for U.S. tax professionals to participate in TEI activities, which occurred almost exclusively in North America. Because of the distance, local tax professionals rarely participated in TEI. There were no pan-European organizations devoted to the corporate tax professional with a combined U.S. and EU tax focus.

TEI's leadership was aware of the professional void facing tax executives in Europe, and set out to attract European-based tax professionals to Tax Executives Institute. Then-President Paul Cherecwich, Jr. and International Tax Committee Chair Joseph S. Tann, Jr. approached Lisa Peschcke-Koedt, who managed Hewlett-Packard's European-based tax department and was a member of the International Tax Committee, to spearhead the effort. In 1997, Lisa started contacting TEI members based in Europe and some European tax professionals.

Once she developed a core group of interested tax professionals, Lisa initiated a series of conference calls to determine how such a group might interact with TEI, and what they would want to achieve by that liaison. An interesting pattern emerged. The participants preferred an autonomous group focused on the concerns of U.S. and local tax professionals. That group would become a magnet for European-based tax professionals. TEI was delighted by the interest but there were some hurdles to be jumped. Would members travel across borders to meet in different countries? In what language would they conduct business? Would they adhere to organizational and operational rules established for TEI's chapters?

Meetings of the "founders" were organized during 1998 and 1999 in Geneva, London, and Amsterdam. Membership increased, as did the call for a more formal status within the Institute. Finally, in March 1999 the Institute's Board of Directors approved the grant of a charter to the European Chapter. It was now up to the founders to nominate the first slate of officers, a chapter representative, and a board of directors and establish appropriate committees to liaise with TEI committees in the United States.

The slate of nominees was voted upon during the first meeting of the new chapter in May. Fifty members strong, they arrived in Geneva on May 26 for the culmination of their two-year effort. There in Geneva, on the shore of Lac Leman, at the hotel which bears the name of the U.S. President who founded the League of Nations, in the city that houses many of the world's greatest international organizations, the founders graciously accepted their new charter from Les Ezrati and Mike Murphy. It was a proud day, indeed, and the founders and their guests celebrated their achievements.

The plaque that bears the TEI European Chapter's charter is inscribed with the names of all the founders. Lisa Peschcke-Koedt's name is among them, and none of us will ever forget that she was instrumental in achieving our goals. During the chartering ceremony, TEI's leadership recognized her efforts as the first president of the European Chapter by presenting her with the past president's pin. Les, Mike, and Lisa then ushered in a new era by greeting the new officers of the European Chapter for 1999-2000.

The chartering event is only the beginning. The chapter's International Tax Committee is already planning to join the Institute International Tax Committee's meeting in July to establish an agenda for the coming year. It is hoped that the interaction of the Institute and chapter committees will refocus European-based tax professionals on the U.S. tax initiatives to be addressed by TEI. At the same time, there is an opportunity for U.S.-based tax professionals to find out what their peers are doing to best utilize, and affect the course of, tax issues in the European Union and Switzerland. The 1999-2000 program schedule of the European Chapter will soon be available, outlining the dates and locations of chapter meetings and technical sessions.

The goals of the European Chapter will include membership growth. If your colleagues in Europe haven't already attended a chapter meeting, please encourage them to do so and to become TEI members. As the European Chapter grows, it is anticipated that satellite chapters will emerge within countries in the same manner as they have grown within the United States and Canada.

The potential effect of the chapter has yet to be fully realized. On a lighter note, Les and Mike are already pondering how to open future TEI Midyear and Annual Conferences. Traditionally, the color guard has carried both the U.S. and Canadian flag, and we've sung both national anthems. In the future, will they carry the European Union and Swiss flags, and will we sing those anthems too? Finally, will we sing those anthems in French? The possibilities are daunting!

 President -- Anthony J. Maggiore, R.J. Reynolds International 1st Vice
 President -- James E. Dillar, General Motors Corp. 2nd Vice President --
 Daniel J. Schlicksup, Caterpillar Overseas S.A. Treasurer -- Hilary A.
 Robinson, Kodak Ltd. Secretary -- Peter Taylor, Dupont Chapter
 Representative -- Lora L. Wilkinson, Citibank

Board of Directors
 Mark C. Peterson, Dell Computer Corporation Jean-Marc Servais, Federal
 Express European Services Rudy Van Steenbergen, Baxter World Trade S.A.
 Mark W. Gyorog, Hewlett-Packard (Europe) Mary Carol Holbert, R.J. Reynolds
 International William E. Ramirez, Philip Morris Europe S.A.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Tax Executives Institute, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Maggiore, Anthony J.
Publication:Tax Executive
Date:May 1, 1999
Previous Article:TEI Salutes Interest-Offset Budget Proposal in Canada.
Next Article:IN MEMORIAM.

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