Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s focus is on Saul Rudo, who leads the Transactional Tax Department at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP.
Rudo represents middle-market private equity firms, family offices, and closely held businesses typically of up to $1 billion in value. In addition to his M&A work, he advises on the business structuring and tax implications of venture capital and start-up transactions, management compensation arrangements, fund formations, and the establishment and operation of family offices. He is also the national head of Katten’s Tax Planning practice and a member of the firm’s board of directors and executive committee.
When he’s not working, Rudo might be reading a variety of newspapers, watching “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” or snacking on low-calorie cookie dough ice cream bars.
What’s your official title and what does it mean? I chair Katten’s Transactional Tax Department. This means I am responsible for recruiting, retaining, and promoting members of this group and leading its business development efforts, as well as working with other practices to coordinate projects requiring that our teams work together. My partner in this leadership is Kate Saracene, who chairs the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation group.
Free time: book, audiobook, or podcast? I am a voracious reader of newspapers, particularly business articles relating to Wall Street and the corporate and private equity sectors and what is trending on those fronts. I am genuinely interested in those developments, as they keeps me in tune with issues impacting current and potential clients, which is important. I also make time for the sports pages.
Tax is a huge subject. What’s your area of special interest? Middle-market M&A deals and restructurings during recessions. When businesses structure mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, spin-offs, and management compensation agreements, I try to help them efficiently get to closings while designing deals that effectuate optimal after-tax positions.
What’s the last movie or show that you watched and loved (DVD, Netflix, or in the theater)? “Law & Order: Organized Crime” on NBC. I like the unexpected plot twists.
What college did you attend and what did you study? I studied accounting at the University of Illinois, as well as history when I had room for non-business electives.
Go to pick-me-up: Coffee or tea? Coffee, which I’ve read has long-term health benefits (even decaf).
What’s the best tax or financial advice that anyone ever gave you? A penny saved is a penny earned.
If you weren’t working in the tax profession, what would your dream job be? Men’s basketball coach at the University of Illinois—even though my competitive playing career ended when I was cut from the team in my sophomore year of high school. After this, I went on to play varsity soccer with lifelong friends, some of whom are now clients.
If you had the opportunity to make one change in the tax world —an extra credit, a disallowed deduction, whatever—what would it be? I would enhance the child taxcredit such that it would permanently make the full credit available to children in families with low or no earnings annually, hopefully securing substantial expected reductions in child poverty.
Favorite food, snack, or candy during tax season or other busy time? Low-calorie cookie dough ice cream bars. Delicious!
What tax news or move made the most impact on your practice or clients this past year? Failed passage of the Build Back Better Act and its tax provisions. Passage would have allowed folks to effectuate deals without undue tax friction.
If you received a big tax refund check right now, what would you do with it? I would beg my son to allow me to invest in his growth equity (usually software, sometimes health care) deals. I want to invest in private equity deals because I think the returns from good funds or investors have historically beaten the stock market, by a lot. And I like relatively close alignment with sponsors.
You can find Rudo on LinkedIn.
You can learn more about Rudo’s law firm, Katten Muchin Rosenman, on its website.
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