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Travers Smith appoints Simon Skinner as head of tax


Travers Smith LLP is pleased to announce that Simon Skinner has been appointed as new head of the firm’s tax practice with effect from 1 January 2017.

Simon Skinner joined Travers Smith in 2006 and became tax partner in 2007. He specialises in corporate and management taxation, in particular focusing on the private equity sector.  In addition to public and private M&A, he advises on debt and equity restructuring, public-to-privates, demergers, IPOs and joint ventures. He also regularly advises founders and management teams, in addition to institutional investors.

As head of tax, Simon leads the team of nine tax partners and 38 tax fee-earners in total. In his new role, he has succeeded Travers Smith’s senior practitioner Kathleen Russ, who has led the tax practice for the past 9 years, developing it into one of the largest and most diverse tax practices in the City, numbering nine partners in total, including four female partners.

Going forward, Kathleen will remain a partner in the tax team and also continue with her existing responsibilities at the firm including the membership of the firm’s Partnership Board. She will also dedicate time to the Board of the Office of Tax Simplification following her appointment as a non-executive director by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Office of Tax Simplification was established in 2010 to provide advice to the Chancellor on simplifying the UK tax system and was made a permanent, independent office of HM Treasury. Kathleen is one of only three new appointments to the board chaired by Angela Knight CBE, along with Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies and John Cullinane, Tax Policy Director at the Chartered Institute of Taxation.

Travers Smith’s Managing Partner David Patient commented: “Over the years Travers Smith’s tax department has not only grown into one of our firm’s key business areas, but also carved a strong reputation in the market for excellence and diversity of its team members. This is largely due to Kathleen’s dedication and excellent leadership skills and I would like to thank her for her contribution to the success of our tax practice to date. Many congratulations to Simon Skinner on his new appointment. I have no doubt that under his capable leadership our tax practice will continue to go from strength to strength.”  

Simon Skinner commented: ”It is a privilege to take over the leadership of this vibrant department from Kathleen Russ, who has made an enormous contribution to the cohesion and success of our team. I very much look forward to working alongside my talented colleagues on taking our practice to the next stage of development going forward.“

Travers Smith’s tax practice is ranked as one of the leading tax practices in the UK. The practice is divided into four groups including transactional tax, asset management and investment funds, corporate finance and the employee incentives group.  The team works for a broad range of clients across industry sectors, from established global brands to start-ups and entrepreneurs, including Bridgepoint, Peel Group, Exponent, Melrose Industries plc and The Carlyle Group, amongst others.  Most recently the team advised Micro Focus International plc on its $8.8 billion merger with Hewlett Packard Enterprises software business; Bridgepoint and management on the tax implications of the sale of Oasis Dental Care, the UK's leading private dental services provider to BUPA, in a transaction valuing the business at £835m and Pret A Manger on a refinancing and significant upsizing of its existing senior debt facilities.  

A particular feature of the practice is the excellence of its individual lawyers, marked by a combination of outstanding technical expertise and a keen awareness of clients’ commercial objectives. As a result, Travers Smith’s tax partners are regularly appointed to prestigious industry-related positions, allowing them to contribute to and influence the ever evolving UK tax legislation and landscape. The latest appointment, with effect from November last year, sees partner Russell Warren become a member of the influential British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Tax Committee where he now contributes to and represents the interest of members on the private equity and venture capital industry on taxation matters.

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