Often called CEO, the Chief Executive Officer is the highest-ranking person responsible for making managerial decisions in a company or institution. The public and the firm’s workers tend to ascribe godlike talents to them all the time. Thus, CEO protection plays a significant role in the present-day business landscape due to their real and perceived powers.
Pro-tip: A CEO is different from an owner. CEOs only have to report to one body ― the Board of Directors, whereas an owner can be pretty much anybody. In fact, anyone who owns something is one.
For this and many other reasons, CEOs make excellent targets of malicious attackers and intruders. Thus, their security must be near impenetrable. Actually, scratch the near part.
EP teams and agents have to be ready for all possible scenarios. From real to perceived risks, implementing alternative routes, and other methods ― the protective detail must be up to the task.
The former US president Theodore Roosevelt was known for his Big Stick ideology. It refers to the short quote: Speak softly and carry a big stick.
The same applies to any CEO protection detail. Clearly, the individuals protecting the CEO must command respect and give respect. Still, they need to present themselves as professionals with whom nobody would want to mess.
If they want to do their job well, EP teams need to turn on their social dynamics skill. You want to treat people a certain way, not be pushy, convey respect, and be professional. More importantly, it’s reciprocal: what you give is what ends up coming back to you.
As the Baby Boomers continue to transfer the largest inheritance in human history, 68 Trillion, to the Millenials by 2030, we will see a new generation of CEOs with a much higher acceptance level for executive security services.
They will welcome it, and they will want it. It is up to us, the service providers, to still deliver the core services in a way that is embraced. We usually only get one shot to either become indispensable or a nuisance. That hasn’t changed.
Martin Nielsen, 3D Executive Services
The Trouble with CEO Protection
We know what you thought when you read this heading. What could possibly be wrong with protecting a CEO? Well, nothing if the CEO is accepting of his protection staff and knows their value.
Among the best-known CEOs and high-ranking company executives who spend a fortune on security are Apple’s Tim Cook, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, and Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi.
Although some media outlets tend to mystify the reasons why prime company CEOs spend so much money on protection, let’s pin down this topic. There is nothing sinister about the high-level security that billionaire executives undergo. In fact, they should all be applauded for it, as they are aware that something could go wrong at any point due to their affluence.
On the other hand, some CEOs only reluctantly accept protection. And the reasons are that they:
- Think they are invincible,
- Believe that their protection detail is exaggerating (whatever this means),
- Assume that nobody will hold them accountable if something goes wrong in the absence of protective agents.
As silly as these remarks may seem to experienced protectors, we need to get into the head of the CEO to understand them. For starters, CEOs are always under plenty of pressure. From board meetings to taking care of the business’s overall operations, CEOs have a lot on their plates.
Thus, when it comes to protecting their well-being, they convince themselves that it is negotiable. With so many demands thrown your way every day and people wanting to be in your proximity, it’s natural that you want to be alone on occasion. That’s a human need.
However, you also want to be thinking that others depend on your safety and clarity of mind. That is the result of an executive protection detail’s job well done.
CEO Protection Strategies to the Rescue
Different people and organizations indeed start EP programs for various reasons. Here we bring you a few protection strategies that can do wonders for everybody.
The mission of EP agents and teams is to keep their protectees happy, productive, and safe. To respond to the needs and lifestyle of the executive being protected, the CEO protection strategy must rest on three pillars:
- Organizational culture,
- The principal’s preferences, and
- Identified risks.
When escorting the CEO to a meeting or a public event, the protective detail must be stealthy yet present. Without speaking, they need to announce to everybody that the CEO is off-limits and that they will respond appropriately if the executive’s safety is under attack.
And sooner or later, they indeed will be targeted.
Practical Tactics That Save Lives
Knowing the area where the CEO is going to or where they will be staying makes all the difference. To properly plan for emergencies and alternative routes, you first need to know where you are heading. Whether it’s a different city or state, or a foreign country, plans must be in place to ensure the CEO is safe at all times.
A thorough advance always does the trick, and part of it is working with local, reliable, and experienced security personnel. They can introduce the CEO and their protection staff to potential dangers. Local knowledge trumps excessive planning every single time.
An additional consideration regarding sound strategies is awareness of the potential vulnerabilities to the principal’s location. The EP team needs to understand the physical environment, such as emergency exits, floor plans, and life safety capacities.
When the CEO is frequently traveling, it’s wise to hire a skillful security driver. Remember that a regular chauffeur doesn’t do the trick. And by doesn’t do the trick, we mean that they have not received the training to protect the principal in hostile environments.
Furthermore, the responsible protective detail must incorporate concerns relating to criminal activity, political unrest, health outbreaks, and other problems into an executive protection plan before any trips to dangerous locations occur. To expand their situational awareness and act as a force multiplier, the EP team can bring in additional technical awareness at any point.
Remember that these are only some of the simplest yet most effective CEO protection strategies out there.
The Takeaways on CEO Protection
Listen, we are aware that the life of a CEO can be difficult, with demands on their time and attention creating a lot of stress. However, if a protective detail follows you at a discrete distance and if they are there for your well-being during your professional and personal time, don’t be rude to them.
They are here for a reason: to do their job and safeguard the protectee, i.e., the person who needs protection. And yes, whether they are aware of it or not. Because sometimes, a company hires security for their CEO to make sure they can go about their duties with zero disturbances and interruptions. And sometimes, the CEO doesn’t agree with that, so they try to skip their security detail all the time.
In conclusion, all the CEO protection strategies we looked into in this article are there for both heads of companies and protective details. Working to improve this relationship now matters more than ever. The future of the executive protection industry depends on it.