CEO protection is unquestionably a priority that concerns the entire C-suite and organization involved. It’s not a question of whether these high-profile and high-net-worth individuals need executive protection. But more a matter of providing them with the best security services available.
Major national and international companies have high-profile executives for whom executive protection might prove necessary. After all, companies invest a lot of money in their chief executive officers — they need to be protected. Furthermore, given the nature of their role, CEOs are prime targets.
Imagine the worst-case scenario where the CEO is incapacitated — leaving the entire company in a state of disorder. Not only that, but the event would also create a ripple effect, spreading a sense of havoc amongst the other employees.
The reality of the situation is that EP is an unfortunate necessity for those in the spotlight. Many executives receive a level of security that far exceeds what many can even fathom.
And so, they should — especially during such a politically charged and uncertain period. Now more than ever, there is an expectation for CEOs and companies to take a stand on many pressing issues. Sociopolitical unrest and the Covid pandemic, to name a few. In any case, the minute a CEO expresses their views — they become a target to those who take any disagreement against them. The threats and harassment that upper-level executives endure happen for a multitude of reasons.
Many Companies Are Spending Big to Protect Their CEOs!
As of late, many more fortune 500 companies are setting up executive protection programs and implementing quite solid security measures for their high-profile employees. Even if some CEOs are reluctant to accept these measures, there is no doubt they will benefit immensely from it.
In 2020, Amazon spent approximately 1.6 million dollars to protect CEO and founder Jeff Bezos. Simply put, anytime he is outside company headquarters. Snapchat paid just short of $900.000 in 2016 to protect CEO Evan Spiegel. A more modest expenditure (at least by Bezos’ and Spiegel’s standards) is the $460 000 Apple spent in 2019 on private security for chief executive Tim Cook.
At present, this cost may rise due exponentially with companies switching to remote work and thus, providing at-home security services for their executive suite.
Considering the real and perceived challenges big-profile CEOs face, such large-scale security expenses are justifiable. Most notably, due to foreign intelligence services.
It is not an ostentatious perk for a corporate elitist that is otherwise falsely implicated.
Threats are evolving at a rate that pose a challenge in that the raw information is often too much to sift through in an acceptable amount of time. Quality intelligence teams, and even data analytic software can help.
But suppose we look at where to throw money and how to invest. In that case, we have to ask ourselves if the method and action we are taking adds to or taking away from the efficiency of the business we are hired to protect.
Even if your principal is an individual and does not associate with a known company, they are still in effect a “brand,” one that is likely worth preserving. So the investment in executive security and even the layering of counter measures, have to be matched to the goals of the business, the demands of the principal and the objectives of the larger organization for whom we serve.
If security doesn’t add to the ease of the company mission or enable the principal’s focus, then you better believe it’s taking it away.”
– Adam Taylor, Managing Partner
CEO Protection: Essential Strategies During Travel
Deciding on the necessary level of protection will vary given the situation and circumstances the CEO finds themselves in. Using a threat assessment helps determine the type of security services and the number of people in a security team. This entails exposure to dangerous situations, foreign or domestic travel, and the value of the person to the organization.
Without a doubt, the most vital factor when protecting executives either internationally or domestically is to plan, plan, and plan! Sure, international travel is routine for many companies, and yet, during these trips, CEOs open themselves to danger. Therefore, they require more EPs to guard them against unknown hostiles than they would during domestic trips.
When it comes to domestic travel, properly planning routes and emergencies are slightly easier because the security team has a better understanding of the locations. Not only that, they are aware of any rules and regulations they must adhere to. In any case, conducting executive protection advance work ahead of time will do the trick.
Other Strategies and Tactics on CEO Protection
Executive protection details have the training and skills necessary to handle potentially adverse situations with ease. Agents work stealthy and discreetly to protect their clients without putting anyone else at risk. By employing the three pillars of executive protection, a protective detail will make sure no one gets hurt on either side.
CEOs are frequent targets for business espionage. Their offices, homes, aircraft, vehicles, and hotel rooms are prime targets of interest. As such, training EPAs to conduct counterespionage is beneficial and involving the entire security team ensures the completion of the objective.
Even within the company, training and testing employees on their security awareness would prove helpful. Not to the extent of an agent who provides advanced security protection, but enough to increase their security IQ and build a culture of security within the company. Attackers are skilled and crafty and use any means possible to get past companies’ security defenses.
Relationship Between the CEO and the EP Agent
To truly protect the executive, security teams must approach protection holistically, i.e., across multiple facets. Likewise, we want the relationship between the EP detail and the protectee as seamless as possible. As such, this requires the agent to respond to the needs and lifestyle of the CEO. In other words, understand the three pillars that guide the CEO protection strategy. We also need the protectee to feel as if they can do their job productively and enjoyably under the care of our team.
Furthermore, CEOs should treat their agents kindly in return. Executive details are there to protect them. And for this relationship to function effectively, there needs to be a give and take relationship. The majority of agent-principal relationships perform seamlessly, with respect, honor, and service guiding their interactions with one another. At the same time, working to improve this relationship would do wonders.
The Take-Away on Protecting the CEO
The subject of CEO protection has gained measurable traction with the general public these past few years. Corporate executive protection is a complicated topic and to avoid people drawing the wrong and even sinister conclusions about executive security, it should be better portrayed.
Whatever your stance, concern for the welfare of high-profile executives is very real. They are often the targets of protestors, kidnappers, and other ne’er-do-well persons. Their companies have a vested interest in securing their welfare and helping them to perform their duties without distraction and worry for personal safety.