What has your career path been, inside or outside of the company?
I was interested in the corporate world, so I studied economics and commercial law. I graduated from the University of Strasbourg (with a post-graduate degree as a business lawyer and a master's degree in company law) and from the University of London (LL.M. (Master of Laws) joint program between the London School of Economics, Queen Mary University, and King’s College).
Before joining Arkema, I first worked as a consultant in law firms, then I had a great initial experience as a tax lawyer in a German group.
Since when have you held this position?
I joined Arkema as a Tax Lawyer in 2010, and was made a Senior Tax Lawyer in 2014.
Can you define and describe your main responsibilities?
I am in charge of anticipating, monitoring, and resolving the Arkema Group's tax issues for France and the Asia region. I project the fiscal costs that Arkema will have to finance, either on a recurrent basis for its existing business, or on a one-time basis for a specific investment, for example. I am also one of the designated contacts to represent Arkema before the tax authorities, whether in response to simple queries or to deal with contentious issues. Finally, when colleagues in finance, legal affairs, business unit managers, flow managers, etc. have decisions to make, I offer them advice concerning the fiscal impact or opportunities before they make those decisions.
What is your typical working day like?
From time to time I have to travel around France or in Asia on assignments, but really I travel the world from day to day over the phone or email. Every working day brings something unexpected and urgent: an impromptu tax audit of a South Korean subsidiary, the announcement in France of a parliamentary bill with fiscal costs that have to be calculated for financial projections, and so on.
On a daily basis I meet my colleagues from the business units or functional departments, who present me with the investment project they are working on (construction of a new plant, expanding the capacity of an existing unit, etc.) or the state of their negotiations with a partner to sign a contract (procurement of raw materials, sales of a product, acquisition of business premises, etc.) so that:
- I can point out the costs and fiscal risks to take into account,
- I can advise them on the best ways to reach their objectives while keeping costs and fiscal risks to a minimum,
- I prepare the tax declarations and corresponding tax payments.
What do you like about your job?
This job is intellectually stimulating because it forces you to adapt to changes in Arkema's business, which means you have to renew the previously established solutions. You must also adapt to frequent changes in legislation, which also brings opportunities to recommend new fiscal solutions.
I also like that this job regularly puts me in contact with people working in functions very different from my own. This gives me the chance to encounter interesting characters and different ways of thinking: you learn something new every day and in all sorts of fields!
What do you like about Arkema?
The ease of communication between colleagues.
Colleagues who are committed and intelligent with no shortage of novel ideas.
Is there a particular memory related to Arkema that you would like to share?
I was lucky enough to take part in a project to set up our thiochemicals plant in Malaysia. There were many complex fiscal issues to sort out during a period of wide-ranging tax reform in that country. Working on those subjects with colleagues from a range of nationalities and professions—together with our South Korean partners—to bring about the establishment of an industrial site that has now proved a success; that was particularly invigorating.
Something that characterizes you and that you would use as an example to describe your tastes, your hobbies, a characteristic or trait of your personality?
As my job mostly has me working in an office rather than in the great outdoors, I compensate for that sedentary activity by swimming and running. I particularly like competing in open-water swimming competitions (which is to say, swimming in natural environments: rivers, lakes, the sea). I am looking forward to the day when swimming in the Seine is authorized so I can take part in the swimming version of the race across Paris.