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Financial Times: BROWN’S ADVISER VIEWED AS INFLUENTIAL AND PREPARED TO LISTEN

By Vanessa Houlder

Published: November 17 2006 02:00 | Last updated: November 17 2006 02:00

The attempt to forge a better relationship between business and the Revenue rests in the hands of Sir David Varney, who has just stepped down as the organisation’s chairman, writes Vanessa Houlder.

Sir David, who was previously chairman of mmO2 and chief executive of the BG Group, is now a senior adviser to the chancellor. Viewed as influential and prepared to listen to business’s concerns, he is no stranger to effecting change. After proving himself as the head of Shell’s downstream operations in the UK and helping the company cope with a backlash from environmentalists over its attempt to dismantle the Brent Spar oil storage facility he went on to play a big role in the British Gas break-up.

But there is some scepticism about whether he is the man to rebuild the relationship with business, given that his stewardship of Revenue & Customs coincided with a marked erosion in trust between tax officials and companies.

Other members of the review committee include directors from AstraZeneca, Unilever, Tomkins, Cable & Wireless, Cadbury Schweppes and HSBC Holdings and senior officials from the Treasury and Revenue. The review team also consulted about 140 businesses and trade bodies as it went about its work.

But Sir David’s decision to leave the Revenue this summer has left a vacancy at the top of the organisation. Until it is filled, there is uncertainty about how the review’s findings will be implemented.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2006

Our own article in which Mr David Varney is mentioned:

ShellNews.net: Shell finishing school for corporate crooks: 2 August 2006

http://shellnews.net/brent/shellnewsnet-shell-finishing-school-2-august-2006.htm

 

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