Gorka Echevarria

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When Gorka Echevarria made the move to Lexmark in 2018, he realized an exciting opportunity to oversee the entire indirect tax function of the corporation. “The prospect of steering a significant transformation within the department, including the enhancement of tools and processes, was particularly appealing,” he says.

As the global VAT director at Lexmark, Echevarria spearheads the formulation and implementation of a robust global indirect tax strategy. This involves ensuring meticulous compliance with myriad international tax regulations, encompassing value-added tax (VAT), goods and services tax (GST), and other pertinent levies. “My focus extends beyond mere compliance—I actively work to minimize risks, optimize operational efficiency, and provide strategic counsel to our executive leadership,” he says.

“Collaboration is at the heart of my role, as I engage closely with internal stakeholders, including finance, legal, and supply chain teams,” he explains. “This approach ensures that our indirect tax strategies align seamlessly with broader business objectives, contributing to a cohesive and integrated financial management framework.”

Recognizing the dynamic nature of indirect taxation, Echevarria champions Lexmark’s adoption of streamlined processes and cutting-edge technology in its tax functions. This adoption not only ensures reporting accuracy but also alleviates operational burdens, allowing for a more agile and responsive approach to changing regulations. This streamlining, he feels, will contribute to overall organizational effectiveness. “I’m fostering a culture of knowledge-sharing and mentorship within the tax team, helping to develop and nurture the next generation of tax professionals,” he says.

Moreover, he manages and coordinates responses to tax audits, connecting with external advisors as needed to ensure smooth and successful resolutions. “In essence, my role extends beyond the conventional boundaries of compliance, actively contributing to the financial health and strategic direction of the company in the intricate realm of indirect taxation,” he says.

He adds that his long-term vision is to extend his role beyond tax, a transition that he pushes toward with a continued commitment to professional development, networking, and staying ahead of industry challenges.

Growth Through Experience

Prior to his current role at Lexmark, Echevarria held tax roles at DXC Technology and Hewlett-Packard and a consulting role at Deloitte. “In my experience as both an external tax consultant and an in-house tax manager, I’ve come to appreciate the nuanced distinctions between these roles,” he notes. “While both positions demand a deep understanding of tax regulations and a commitment to delivering value, the context and responsibilities differ significantly.”

Through these experiences, Echevarria says he became adept at, among other skills, distilling complex tax matters into comprehensive strategies and embedding himself within the company culture to gain an in-depth understanding of operations, goals, and challenges.

With TEI’s EMEA Chapter

Echevarria serves on the board of TEI’s EMEA Chapter. He notes that over the past couple of years, the chapter has launched and cultivated a mentoring program within its community. With an impressive enrollment of more than sixty members, this program has become a cornerstone of the chapter’s commitment to holistic growth and professional development.

“This mentoring initiative is not just about numbers—it’s a testament to the hunger for personal and professional enhancement. The program has been carefully designed to provide participants with a personalized and enriching experience,” he explains. “Through one-on-one interactions, seasoned mentors share their wealth of experience, insights, and strategies, creating a dynamic and tailored approach that resonates with each mentee.”

The program focuses on proficiencies that are crucial in today’s multifaceted professional landscape, including enhanced communication skills, team collaboration, adaptability in the face of change, and development of leadership and emotional intelligence.

“By concentrating on these core attributes, we aim to empower our members not only with knowledge but also with the practical skills necessary to navigate challenges, foster positive relationships, and excel in their respective domains,” he says. He adds that participants have reported improvements in their confidence, interpersonal connections, and navigation of complex professional scenarios.

The chapter’s advocacy and engagement has afforded TEI a prominent presence in discussions with the European Union Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. “This platform enables us to recommend best practices and articulate the key points expressed by our members regarding proposed legislative initiatives,” Echevarria says. “These experiences underscore our commitment to fostering professional development, expanding member engagement, and actively contributing to pertinent policy dialogues.”

Achieving Work-Life Balance

Outside of work, Echevarria has distinct passions. “I thoroughly enjoy writing books and articles on indirect tax, delving into the intricacies of the subject, and sharing insights with a broader audience. It’s a fulfilling way for me to stay connected to my professional expertise while contributing to the knowledge base in my field.”

Equally rewarding is quality time with his family. “Engaging in friendly basketball matches with my son is a favorite pastime, even though he manages to outscore me every single time!” he says. “Playing chess with my daughter has become a weekly tradition. Witnessing her gradual improvement in the game is not only a source of pride but also a delightful way to bond over strategic thinking and friendly competition. These activities provide a perfect balance to my professional life, allowing me to unwind, connect with my family, and pursue personal interests.”

Things to Know About Gorka Echevarria

Title: Global VAT Director
Organization: Lexmark
TEI Chapter: EMEA
Education: Bachelor of law and business administration, Deusto University, Bilbao; LLM in international tax, IE Business School, Madrid; and postmaster’s degree in EU customs law, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Birthplace: Bilbao, Spain
Hobbies: Writing, reading, and playing basketball and chess

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