Case study 15

Where should we locate European HQs? How should we organise many smaller countries?

Company O historically had its European HQs in France. However, the Company was finding France as a difficult place to do business due to recruitment and tax issues. A consulting team was hired in to review the situation. The team concluded that from the operational point of view, UK or Switzerland made best sense, given the availability of talent and access to professional services. Both were high cost countries; however, the quality of people and infrastructure in those countries was attractive. From the tax point of view, Ireland, the Netherlands, Ireland, UK and certain parts of Switzerland were attractive. The Company worked with accounting and law firms to create financial ownership structure that was independent of the operating structure.