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The Role of the Tax COO: A Survey of Tax Leaders


Chief Tax Officers (CTOs) have become increasingly important strategic advisors to Chief Financial Officers and other executives grappling with cross-border mergers, complex regulations, or new organizational structures. This has left many CTOs in somewhat of a bind. As they are called away with greater frequency to participate in high-profile strategic initiatives, it becomes difficult for them to fulfill all of their operational leadership responsibilities.

We began to observe that a number of innovative tax organizations designed a solution to the problem — the creation of a new role, the Tax Chief Operating Officer (Tax COO), to take charge of the vital operational aspects of the global tax function. The specifics of the function vary from company to company, but they generally include oversight of budgeting, cross-functional collaboration, and talent management.

While the number of companies adopting the Tax COO role is relatively small, it got us thinking: Is this a blossoming trend? We dug deeper and talked to Tax COOs to get a better understanding of how they viewed their role and the advantages it brought. 

Ankura and Bloomberg BNA held a joint webcast during which we discussed the trends we were seeing and solicited audience responses. More than a quarter of attending organizations had a Tax COO, were considering one or were likely to consider one. Clearly, we were on to something.

We launched an online survey to a broader group of tax practitioners and asked not only about the prevalence of the role, but also about its benefits and implementation challenges. In the following pages, we present the survey findings, as well as highlights from some of our conversations with Tax COOs.

It is our belief that we will be seeing more professionals stepping into this role in the near future. Read on and see if you agree by downloading our full report below. 

© Copyright 2016. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of Ankura Consulting Group, LLC., its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals. Ankura is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice.


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