Will Morris has a lot on his plate. The global tax policy director for GE also chairs the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) tax committee, the AmCham EU Tax Task Force, the European Tax Policy Forum and has just accepted the role of chairman of BIAC’s (Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD) tax and fiscal policy committee, taking over from Chris Lenon.
On top of that, he is a priest at the Anglican church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, in London.
“As a part-time priest at St Martin-in-the- Fields, I try on a regular basis to bring together NGOs, government, business tax directors, academics, big 4, etcetera, together at St Martin’s to talk about tax and development issues in a neutral setting.”
Most people who work in tax policy understand the time commitments can be significant. But as Morris does more than most, how does he manage his time?
Morris says the answer is to this is practical and philosophical. “On the practical side, I view my role as chair of each of these groups as one of coordinator, facilitator and team builder - not micromanager or one-man-band.
“In terms of getting things done, none of these groups has particularly large secretariats, and I am not in a position to draft everything - even if I wanted to - so we work on a project/team basis.
“Specialists on the various committees take the lead on different subjects. I provide coordination, and ideas on direction, but the heavy lifting on each major project is done by a team. This has worked well at CBI and BIAC is also moving in that direction.
“The more philosophical answer is that I believe there is a real strategic synergy between these jobs because there are perhaps four or five relatively new, but very pressing, issues in international tax that apply at both national and international levels.”
These areas are developing countries’ needs to raise more revenue, the shift in economic power from OECD members to non-members, the taxation of intellectual property as a result of globalisation and the increasingly negative public reaction to corporate tax affairs.