Polish tax ace switches to US firm

Tomasz Kacymirow, known as the foremost tax expert in Poland, has left KPMG to join US firm Hunton & Williams in a move that has been described as “ground-breaking”.

Lejb Fogelman, head of Hunton & Williams in Warsaw, said the appointment had set a precedent in Poland because Kacymirow is the first full domestic partner in a foreign firm with full voting and equity rights and because previously the big six accountancy firms had all the best tax lawyers.

“Other firms hire 'Polish partners' but they are limited partners with power and profit share in Poland only, rather like a contract lawyer,” said Fogelman.

The move is described as friendly by both sides, although Fogelman concedes it may have come as a surprise for KPMG.

He believes Kacymirow made the move because, as a lawyer, he wanted to be with a law firm, and it is only now that the conditions have become right in Poland.

“We now have the quality and density of cases for our own tax expert. One year ago we would not have taken him on,” said Fogelman.

“We had worked with him before and regarded him as the best tax lawyer in Poland, but it was like a case of teenagers in love which has now matured into adults that have married.”

Hunton & Williams, which handled the first takeover of a public company in Poland, is claiming Kacymirow's appointment puts it in a very good position to handle similar deals.

“If you do not have a top transactional tax lawyer you cannot touch these types of deals without having to go to accountants for advice,” he said. Fogelman added that the firm is to press home its advantage by taking on another five tax lawyers this year.

Bill Drysdale, managing partner of KPMG business, said he was “sorry to lose a talented professional”.

However, Drysdale conceded that “talented people are unlikely to stay at one firm in such a quickly emerging market as Poland”.