Company headquarters: Here, there and everywhere

The great escape…from the taxman

EVEN the most industrious executive cannot be in three places at once, but his employer might well be. A number of multinationals have recently opted to split their legal, fiscal and other personalities between various countries. The latest to do so is Fiat. Now that the Italian carmaker is set to gain full control of Chrysler, it is to leave Italy, on paper at least, after 115 years. Its board recently voted to move the parent’s legal domicile to the Netherlands, its tax residence to Britain and its main stockmarket listing to New York. This copies a template Fiat used when its tractor unit was merged with an American rival and spun off as CNH Industrial.The Netherlands is sometimes chosen as an acceptably neutral jurisdiction when firms from different countries tie the knot but national pride dictates that neither can move to the other’s patch. When New York-based Omnicom and Paris-based Publicis, two advertising giants, announced a union last year, John Wren, Omnicom’s boss, described their proposed Dutch holding structure as “an elegant solution” for “anyone who was troubled” by the question of…

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