Chris Mercer

French CEOs to pick up national tax bill

By: Chris Mercer - 24 August 2011 14:58

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CEOs of some of France's largest companies, including Evian water producer Danone, have said that they are willing to pay a one-off tax contribution to help the country reduce its debt.

No, we're not taking drugs. This is really happening, as evidenced by an open letter published in France's Nouvel Observateur magazine today (24 August) - how's your French?. Danone CEO Franck Riboud is among the high-level signatories of the letter, which says that the gesture to pay a one-off tax contribution comes amid concern for the economic future of France and Europe.

Shall we be cynical? Yes? What a fantastic bit of publicity this is, for both the companies and the government. Let's not pretend for one moment that the contribution will touch the sides of France's long-standing debt problems. 

That said, it is a very unusual move, and something similar has already been proposed by US billionaire Warren Buffet in his own country of birth. For symbolism alone, it is worthy of note.

Tomorrow, I shall be interviewing Diageo's CEO, Paul Walsh, on the drinks giant's full-year results. What odds would you put on UK CEOs following the French lead?

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