Discovery Communications today announced the appointment of media-industry tax management veteran Todd Davis as Executive Vice President, Global Tax, effective September 1, 2012, and reporting to CFO Andrew Warren.

As a senior member of Discovery’s Finance team, Davis will have global responsibility for the company’s tax department, providing leadership and proactive direction for global tax strategy, planning and compliance on a worldwide basis and in all jurisdictions, including the review of tax implications of new transactions and business ventures.

“Todd’s business intelligence and leadership abilities will be invaluable as we continue to grow Discovery’s business, both domestically and internationally,” said Warren. “Also, having worked with Todd at NBC Universal, I know firsthand that his deep understanding and experience in overseeing and managing the intricacies of global tax issues, specifically as they relate to companies in the media and telecommunications industry, make him the ideal candidate to lead Discovery’s tax function.”

Davis joins Discovery from Ernst & Young, LLP, where he co-led the global tax account for General Electric and GE Capital, as well as serving on the Media and Entertainment Industry team. Prior to that, Davis spent 10 years at NBC Universal, most recently as Executive Vice President, Senior Tax Counsel, where he was responsible for global tax department management, tax planning and tax reporting, including tax-related support of the NBC-Universal merger and Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal. Davis’ experience also includes more than 10 years at Arthur Andersen, LLP, including serving as a member of the Technology, Media and Communications Industry team.

Davis holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the Stern School of Business at New York University and a law degree from the Fordham University School of Law. He is an Attorney at Law and Certified Public Accountant in New York.

Davis will be based in Discovery’s New York City office.

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True Partners Consulting has announced that Aileen Arsenault has joined its New York office as a managing director. Bringing over 20 years of experience in both corporate and public accounting to the role, Arsenault will lead the firm’s Northeast Region International Tax Practice.

“We are pleased to welcome Aileen to our firm. She will be an asset in growing our international tax practice,” said Cary McMillan, Chief Executive Officer of True Partners. “Aileen brings with her strong and long standing client relationships. She is truly her client’s partner, which is the type of relationship our firm values.”

Arsenault intends to focus on three key initiatives; international tax planning, tax provision reporting and compliance, and Section 199 Domestic Production Activities Deductions. International tax planning and analysis services include repatriation planning, E&P Studies, FTC Planning, 861-8 optimization, and OFL Analysis. Provision reporting and compliance services include quarterly provision calculations, FIN48 analysis, international tax compliance, and audit and controversy support.

Arsenault has deep experience with the Section 199 Domestic Production Activity Deductions and plans to expand the firm’s ability to serve its clients using technology based tools to help clients comply, optimize, and support their 199 results.
“As we continue to grow at a rapid pace, Aileen is a strategic fit. Her expertise will be valuable to our global clients,” said Susan Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer of True Partners Consulting.

“One of my early initiatives is to collaborate with my tax colleagues on a national basis to share information, best practices, and technical knowledge so that we are all better positioned to serve our clients,” said Arsenault. “True Partners is a full service tax consulting and business advisory firm with an impressive client list. Our current clients are growing internationally and our unique client service culture is something I am excited to be a part of. We have an impressive array of tax professionals across the country and internationally through our London Office and our foreign affiliates.”

Before joining True Partners, Arsenault’s tenure includes a Principal position at a Big Four firm and Managing Director position at a top ten accounting firm. Arsenault earned her Bachelor of Science in Finance from Montclair State University and her Masters of Business Administration in Management Accounting and International Business from Rutgers University.

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Frank Strachan has joined Edwin Coe from LSG Solicitors.

He leads the tax disputes team which specialises in advising clients who are subjected to challenges by the tax authorities, as well as advising high-net-worth clients and families wishing to ensure that their tax affairs are suitable for their needs.

Frank is recognised as one of the leading practitioners in this specialised field and works closely with other members of the Private Client Group to offer a comprehensive service to private clients. He is ably supported within the tax team by Sean Bannister and Ashley Fletcher.

Frank has 20 years’ experience in tax dispute matters and is an experienced tax dispute resolution practitioner. His detailed knowledge of HMRC’s practices and procedures means that he is able to achieve excellent settlement terms for clients.

With a wide breadth of experience in representing both personal and corporate clients subject to enquiry, Frank’s investigations experience covers cases ranging:

Prosecution defence work
Special Investigations – Code of Practice 9/CDF
Specialist Investigations – Code of Practice 8
Complex Personal Return team investigations
Ultra High Net Worth Unit investigations
Status enquiries
National Minimum Wage investigations
Local tax district enquiries

In addition to working in the UK, Frank has spent many years working in offshore jurisdictions advising offshore service providers and their clients in respect of challenges from HMRC. The length of time spent overseas advising clients provides Frank with a market leading understanding of the offshore market both in respect of the advisors but also their clients. Frank is regularly introduced by offshore wealth providers to their clients who are seeking a better understanding of their UK tax requirements.

In more recent years, Frank has become one of the UKs foremost practitioners in representing clients who are considering applying for one of HMRC’s offshore amnesties. Frank has successfully advised many clients who wished to enter into the Offshore Disclosure Facility (ODF); the New Disclosure Opportunity (NDO), and the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF).He has also been party to consultation discussions with HMRC regarding the Swiss/UK tax agreement.

Applying a practical approach to resolving often complex matters has meant that Frank has successfully negotiated many settlements for clients subject to detailed investigations in respect of their residence and domicile positions. He has represented numerous high profile clients in the sports and media world. Managers and agents trust Frank to resolve matters quickly and practically whilst ensuring that the utmost discretion is afforded to their client’s affairs.

Frank is an active member of ICAEW’s Tax Investigations Practitioners Group. He is also a regular conference speaker on tax dispute matters and is widely quoted in both the national and trade press on tax related matters.

Alvarez & Marsal Taxand, LLC, a founding member of the first global organization of the world’s leading independent tax firms, announced that Jeffrey Olin has joined the firm as Managing Director in Chicago.

With more than 25 years of experience, Mr. Olin brings deep experience in international and domestic tax matters having advised clients on tax, legal, and accounting issues related to international investments. His areas of focus include: international tax planning, accounting and compliance, tax technology implementation, acquisition due diligence, treasury coordination, and cross-border planning. He also works extensively with global companies expanding their international operations – both inbound and outbound, and advises clients in technical areas including tax-efficient financing structures, foreign tax credit planning, earnings and profits computations, earnings stripping, and transfer pricing.

“Companies must get their tax house in order as 2013 promises to be a year of great change, regardless of the election outcome this fall,” said Robert N. Lowe, Chief Executive Officer of Alvarez & Marsal Taxand. “As a former corporate tax executive, Jeff understands the challenges companies are facing in this time of uncertainty and makes an invaluable addition to our team.”

Previously, Mr. Olin was Vice President – Tax for Fortune Brands, a $9 billion consumer brands conglomerate, where he successfully executed a tax-free spin-off of a major division (Moen / Master Lock), completed the divestiture of another (Titleist / Footjoy) and led the global tax function for the remaining company, Beam Global Spirits. Before that, he served as a national Managing Partner in international tax with Grant Thornton and was an international Tax Partner in Chicago with McDermott, Will &Emery and Arthur Andersen.

Mr. Olin, a CPA, earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics, cum laude, from Carroll University, a juris doctor from Marquette University Law School, a LL.M. from DePaul University College of Law, and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Federal District Court and the U.S. Tax Court. He is a frequent speaker and lecturer on international tax matters, and from 2002 through 2011, he served as an adjunct professor in the Master of Taxation (LL.M.) program at Chicago Kent Law School. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the American Bar Association (ABA) and the International Fiscal Association (IFA).

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Paul J. Laughlin recently joined WTAS as a Managing Director in the Private Client Services Practice of the Chicago office. Prior to joining WTAS, Laughlin was a Partner at Deloitte Tax LLP for 10 years and before that he spent 24 years at Arthur Andersen, 10 years as a Partner.

Laughlin’s primary career focus has been advising ultra high net worth families in all facets of their wealth planning, including: estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax strategies; income tax planning; charitable giving; private foundations; investments; family office consultation; and closely-held company structuring and succession planning.

“We are responding to the needs of our market,” Chicago’s Office Managing Director, Joe Karczewski said. “Chicago is home to many significant, multi-generational wealthy families and family-owned businesses that require sophisticated wealth and tax planning. With the ability to serve this niche market, Paul will make a great addition to our existing team.”

Laughlin has advised numerous families, earning the trust and confidence of the different generations. His seamless coordination with major law firms, investment advisors, investment bankers, bankers, fiduciaries and other professionals allows him to provide outstanding service to families.

WTAS CEO, Mark Vorsatz, commented, “This year our firm is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Our goal wasn’t necessarily growth; rather, it has been a byproduct of our client service. The addition of Paul demonstrates our commitment to continue that best-in-class service.”

Laughlin received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and his Juris Doctor from the University of Notre Dame. Paul is a Certified Public Accountant.

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Leading South West chartered accountants Francis Clark have further boosted their Cornish operation with the appointment of Erin Davis to the posiiton of Tax Director.

Erin joins Francis Clark after seven years with international firm BDO where she was senior tax manager in the Southampton office. Before that she trained with and worked for Deloitte UK for four years.

Erin is a corporate specialist whose expertise ranges from mergers, acquisitions and disposals to shareholder planning, company tax issues, property tax and detailed capital allowance claims.

Speaking about her new appintment Erin said: “I was looking for a new opportunity and jumped at the chance to work with a nationally recognised firm in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. I’m looking forward to helping Cornish businesses with all their tax needs.”

Erin will work closely with Francis Clark’s corporate team in Truro.

Scott Bentley, partner in the corporate team said: “We remain committed to providing the best possible advice to businesses in Cornwall and Erin brings a wealth of experience to the Francis Clark Truro office, from advising small owner-managed businesses to large privately owned corporates and fully listed companies. We’re delighted to have her on the team.”

Outside of work Erin enjoys walking, swimming and yoga, and is kept busy by her four year-old daughter.

Francis Clark’s tax team is nationally recognised for the quality of its services. Earlier this year the firm won two categories in the LexisNexis Taxation Awards 2012 including Best Tax Practice in a regional firm and Tax Writer of the Year for Truro-based partner John Endacott.

The double triumph follows the firm previously winning the LexisNexis award in the category of Best General Tax Practice in 2009 and the Financial Directors’ Excellence Awards as mid-tier Auditor of the Year 2011.

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Williams Mullen is pleased to announce Greg Bryant has joined the firm as a partner in the Tax section.

Mr. Bryant has skills and hands on experience that expand the capabilities of the robust and growing tax group at Williams Mullen. Based in the firm’s Raleigh office, Mr. Bryant will focus his practice on international tax matters. He joins noted tax attorneys Charles Neely, Jr., Nancy Rendleman and Charles Steel, who focus their practices on state and local tax issues. This group has experienced rapid growth recently with the addition of associate Kyle Wingfield, who concentrates his practice on international tax matters, and partner Stephanie Lipinski Galland, who brings a wealth of experience in the area of state and local tax.

Farhad Aghdami, chair of Williams Mullen’s Tax Law group, comments, “With increasing globalization, domestic clients are looking to do business abroad, while foreign companies are seeking new markets in the U.S. Greg has a proven track record of helping enterprises to navigate the complexity of international taxation, to solve their critical business needs, and to find practical and efficient solutions.”

Mr. Bryant brings years of experience that comes from a career in law, consulting, finance, accounting and executive management. Prior to joining Williams Mullen, Mr. Bryant was with Cherry Bekaert & Holland LLP, where he was the practice leader of the National Corporate Tax group, which focused on serving large corporate clients with multinational business footprints. Prior to that, Mr. Bryant served in various capacities at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP; most recently as the Director of National Tax, for which he headed the Value Chain Transformation practice for the Midwest and designed structures for large Fortune 100 companies. Mr. Bryant has also served as Managing Director of GlobalTax, delivering integrated international Tax, Law and Financial consulting services to a broad range of clients, and Of Counsel with Weidema van Tol, a Netherlands-based law firm specializing in Luxembourg and Netherlands-based tax structures. For eleven years, Mr. Bryant served as vice president of taxes and shared services at Alliance One International, Inc. He began his career with Textron Financial Services as a senior financial analyst and later a divisional controller.

Chuck Neely, co-chair of Williams Mullen’s State & Local Tax group, adds, “Greg Bryant brings to our clients the benefit of over 25 years of hands-on experience with top accounting firms and executive management. At Williams Mullen, he will continue to help companies from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies expand into new markets and navigate operational and tax risks inherent with global markets. He is an excellent addition to our tax group.”

Mr. Bryant earned his B.S. and B.A. degrees from the University of South Carolina, his juris doctor degree from the University of South Carolina Law Center and his LLM, Master of Laws in Taxation, from the Georgetown Law Center. He is also a Certified Public Accountant. He serves as a regional VP of the International Fiscal Association and is a founding member of the IFA Triangle chapter.

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Moss Adams LLP, the largest accounting and business consulting firm headquartered in the West, with more than 600 professionals across 10 California offices, welcomes Annette Ahlers as a tax partner in its Tax Specialty Group. In her new role Ahlers will serve as a strategic counselor for businesses seeking highly technical corporate tax planning services, including advice related to transactions, restructuring, post-acquisition compliance, bankruptcy tax analysis and more. With more than 22 years of experience in corporate tax, including a stint at the IRS, where she was the drafting attorney for the option attribution regulations under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code, Ahlers brings to Moss Adams a wealth of transaction-based tax planning expertise.

“Annette represents a broad range of experience that will go a long way in helping our corporate clients navigate the most intricate tax issues”
“We’re thrilled to have Annette onboard,” said Todd Van der Wel, managing partner of the firm’s Los Angeles office. “Her deep knowledge of all aspects of corporate tax—particularly mergers and acquisitions—combined with her strong industry relationships and legal background make her an unparalleled asset to our clients.”

Most recently, Ahlers served as a tax partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP, where she founded the corporate tax group in the law firm’s Washington, DC, office. Previously she served as a tax partner in the corporate group for Ernst & Young. During her time there, Ahlers was the director of mergers and acquisitions services for the Mid-Atlantic region. Ahlers began her career at the IRS as an attorney adviser in the Office of Chief Counsel, Corporate. In addition to working on the option attribution regulations under Section 382, Ahlers developed her skills in other transaction tax matters, including spin-offs, taxable and tax-free mergers, dispositions, bankruptcy tax matters and treatment of transaction costs.

A member of the Federal Bar Association, the State Bar of California and the District of Columbia Bar, Ahlers also has a wealth of experience representing clients in front of the IRS, both with obtaining private-letter rulings and on IRS exam. Ahlers specializes in tax code sections 108, 162, 165, 195, 263, 355, 368, 382 and 1502.

“Annette represents a broad range of experience that will go a long way in helping our corporate clients navigate the most intricate tax issues,” said Roger Weninger, Southern California regional managing partner for Moss Adams. “While Annette will be an asset to the entire firm, she’s particularly well suited to meet the needs of our clients in Southern California. Given the dynamic nature of the business environment, Annette’s proficiency in mergers and acquisitions and private equity will bring great value to the many corporate clients in the region who are undergoing strategic business changes, including forming new businesses, divesting, merging and more.”

Having spent the majority of her career in Washington, DC, Ahlers has developed a network of strong relationships with IRS professionals and established a reputation among her peers as a thought leader. A member of the American Bar Association and the Association for Corporate Growth, Ahlers regularly participates in panel discussions and delivers presentations on topics such as transaction costs, bankruptcy tax, corporate restructuring and utilization of losses. Ahlers has also been invited to speak before the Tax Executives Institute on numerous occasions.

“I’m excited to apply my background in tax and law along with my experience in DC to add another layer of specialized expertise to the services Moss Adams offers,” said Ahlers. “I look forward to being a resource for all mergers and acquisitions activities and the opportunity to provide strategic advice that will help our clients continue to receive the high level of service Moss Adams is known for.”

A Sacramento native, Ahlers will return to her West Coast roots with her new position in the Los Angeles office. Ahlers earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from the University of Washington. She went on to earn her Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law, and she holds a Master of Laws in tax from Georgetown University.

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