Monday 21 May 2018

'Massively unattractive' tax rates deterring top executives - Kelly

Aengus Kelly, chief executive officer of AerCap. Photo: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg
Aengus Kelly, chief executive officer of AerCap. Photo: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ireland's personal tax burden continues to act as a barrier to enticing top tier international executives to these shores, the head of the world's largest aircraft leasing company warns.

Aengus Kelly, the chief executive of AerCap, said the marginal tax rate is "massively unattractive" and hinders the placement of decision-makers in Ireland across all industries.

Despite that, he said the firm will complete the move of its corporate headquarters to Ireland next month from Amsterdam, cementing the country's position as the leading global base for the international aircraft-leasing business.

Read more: Aengus Kelly interview in full

Mr Kelly will be among the AerCap executives who'll relocate from the Netherlands, as will all senior management who are in Amsterdam. The move will be completed on February 1. AerCap, which already has offices in Ireland, will then have a total of about 200 staff here, most of them in Dublin. Mr Kelly cautioned that Ireland needs to work hard to maintain its position at the top of the leasing sector, and to lure senior executives for industries across the spectrum. "All jobs are great, but what's so important is to get decision-makers in," he said. "Decision-makers are their own economic engines. If the decision-maker is here then local firms will be brought in and used. Similarly, local Irish people will learn from those decision-makers through osmosis and become senior people themselves.

"You have to be honest - this isn't California. So, you need to make it attractive and if you don't they're not coming.

"Unfortunately, the real challenge is the high rate of marginal tax. It's just massively unattractive. If you're earning a big salary and you're in the US, are you going to give up 18pc more of it to come and live in Ireland? No, you're not."

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