When experience matters, Rutlen Associates delivers.

Rutlen Associates LLC is a consulting firm that delivers practical solutions to challenging problems. We focus on mobile employees and global stock plans. We only handle projects where we know we can add significant value - usually the projects address the diverse needs of Tax, Human Resource, Finance, and Payroll. If the project requires a solution better provided elsewhere, we will tell you and refer you.




It can work for you, as well.

Nicky Chiuchiarelli 

Who We Are

Crystal Gronau is a partner of Rutlen Associates LLC. She has more than 20 years of public accounting and tax experience. Crystal was an expatriate in Frankfurt, Germany, for 3 years as the leader of the International Assignment Tax Services group for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). After her assignment in Germany, she returned to California to take a position as Western Region leader of the International Assignment Outsourcing practice for PwC.

Crystal has assisted numerous multinational clients in developing strategies to minimize corporate costs while compensating their transferees fairly. Her experience ranges from the development of international compensation and tax equalization policies, to program benchmarking, process and procedure review and documentation, international payroll compliance, in-house training sessions, and cross-border tax planning. Crystal's cross-border tax planning includes assisting clients with the proper reporting of non-US gifts and estate transfers, as well as sales of US-sited property.

Crystal is a Certified Financial Planner, a member of the American Institute of CPAs and California Society of CPAs.

Marlene Zobayan

Crystal Gronau

Carol Rutlen is the managing partner of Rutlen Associates LLC. Carol brings her clients over 25 years of experience with extensive concentration in tax and human resource issues associated with international tax, human resource, and global stock plans. She understands the challenges of multifaceted, global problems first hand from both internal and external perspectives.

Carol develops solutions for your needs. She cuts through complicated issues to get to your core challenges, focuses on workable solutions for your key issues, and clearly communicates the practical steps to solve your problem. She has dealt with Fortune 10 companies and small start-ups. She knows how to be creative to develop solutions for your budget.

Carol applies her extensive experience to fit the needs of your organization. She was the partner-in-charge of the Palo Alto office of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where she had overall responsibility for the expatriate practice in Northern California. She has helped companies with various expatriate programs face challenges such as streamlining the administrative process, reducing tax costs, increasing effectiveness of assignee communication, and implementing new policies.

She also developed and was the global leader of the PwC practice unit specializing in issues associated with designing, implementing, and administering global stock plans. Carol specializes in global stock plan issues such as process improvement, risk management, mobile employees, and employee communications.

After leaving PwC, Carol founded and served as CEO of ExpatEdge©, a software company focusing on the unique needs of mobile employees. ExpatEdge's web-based solutions utilized technology to ease the heavy lifting of routine matters, made assignees more self-sufficient, and reduced the cost of supporting assignees by 30-50%.

She currently serves as project leader for developing the Certified Equity Professional Institute (CEPI) Guidance - Procedures - System publication. This publication identifies the key risks associated with stock plan administration and appropriate controls to mitigate the risk.

Carol is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, California Society of CPAs, the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals, Global Equity Organization, and the Western International Personnel Association. She is past-Chair of the CEPI and is listed in various Who's Who registries. She is also a frequent speaker and has published articles on tax planning, compensation, and benefits. Carol is also an adjunct professor in the Master of Tax program at San Jose State University.



Whether you are a Fortune 100 company or a start-up, we can help you develop practical solutions to your challenging problems. We have a solid record of success that proves our approach works. It can work for you as well.

To learn more about the issues facing our clients and how we help, call today: (650) 868-9282.

Nicky Chiuchiarelli has more than 30 years of accounting and tax experience. During her career, she has worked in various management positions at Ernst & Whinney and Deloitte, including serving as a managing tax director of the IAS group at PricewaterhouseCoopers. She has also managed her own tax-consulting group. Her work experience includes tax planning and consulting with multinational companies to develop and plan, establish and implement, and administer and manage international assignment programs and policies. While a manager with Ernst & Whinney, Nicky worked in the firm’s Tokyo office on several postings in their international tax practice. As an independent consultant, she has advised clients in their operations set-up in the US and abroad and has assisted high net worth individuals with tax planning strategies to minimize their worldwide tax exposure. Her other areas of experience include work in international estate and gift tax studies, as well as benefits studies/surveys. She has served clients in a number of different industries, including High Tech, Biotech, Legal, Healthcare, International Benefits, Investment /Financial Services, Insurance, and Business Advisory Services. Nicky is an Enrolled Agent and a member of the National Association of Enrolled Agents as well as the Golden Gate Chapter of Enrolled Agents.

Carol Rutlen

Marlene Zobayan is a partner of Rutlen Associates LLC. She has over twenty years of international tax and benefits experience, including global equity plans, mobile employee taxation, global compensation and benefits. She provides a holistic and proactive range of services to her clients, including global equity plan design, tax reviews and tax optimization, assistance with local approvals and filings, communications, and designing administrative processes. She is a regular speaker and author on global stock plan and rewards issues.

Prior to joining Rutlen Associates, Marlene was the practice leader on the West Coast for Deloitte Tax's Global Rewards group and managed their news alerts for global equity plan changes.

Marlene has a Physics degree from Oxford University; she is a member of the U.K. Association of Tax Technicians, a US Enrolled Agent and Certified Equity Professional. She sits on the Advisory Board of the Certified Equity Professional Institute.