Corporate security departments work hard to protect people and property. Executive protection is one of the key components of corporate security services. In fact, many corporate security departments are now taking on this new responsibility. “We are seeing more companies adopting executive protection as a normal part of corporate security,” says Brian Jantzen, executive vice president with Seattle, Washington-based AS Solution, a company that provides a variety of security services, including executive protection, around the world.
Need for Executive Protection
Why should a company bring in an executive protection firm? Two reasons, says Jantzen: First, it could prevent the significant loss in the value of the company that would follow a successful attack on its executives. Second, executive protection is different today. In addition to security, executive protection also helps to support executive productivity.
Financial Implications Of Corporate Security
An argument against executive protection may be its expense. Recent news reports have noted that Amazon spends $1.6 million annually to protect CEO Jeff Bezos. Disney pays $584,075 annually to protect CEO Bob Iger. Other high-profile companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to protect their top executives.
Why so expensive? High-profile executives travel extensively by car and jet, and an executive protection team provides round-the-clock coverage in shifts. The team’s costs include salaries and expenses for travel, food and lodging. The team may also maintain a post at the executive’s home.
“You also have an intelligence analysis piece and threat assessment,” Jantzen says.“That involves continuously looking for emerging risks and threats for the individual. For a high-profile executive, the threat assessment changes constantly and requires constant review.”
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While it does sound expensive, Jantzen points out that the executive protection cost is a fraction of the loss that protecting the top executive can prevent.
Effect of Lack of Executive Security
Imagine a public company with a $1 billion market capitalization, he says. The sudden death of the company’s CEO would likely have a significant impact on the company’s stock price. Suppose the share price were to fall by 5 percent, it would reduce the company’s market capitalization by $50 million.
“Not all sudden deaths can be prevented,” notes Jantzen. “But some can. Wouldn’t it be worth spending a fraction of $50 million on trying to prevent such a loss?”
Add to that the other key service provided by today’s new executive protection practitioners: Security for top executives plus productivity support.
Productivity Benefits To Executive Protection
Executive protection services today go beyond basic executive protection.
“Companies expect more from executive protection firms, today,” Jantzen says. “At AS Solution, for example, our premise is to keep people safe, happy and productive.”
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“Of course, the idea is to mitigate risks based on a risk and threat assessment of the environment — on company property and in the areas of the world where company executives travel.”
“At the same time, our teams carefully plan travel logistics. Well-planned travel reduces the exposure of a principal by avoiding long waits between appointments. When a principal finishes a keynote speech, for instance, he or she is smoothly escorted from the building and to the vehicles for the move to the next location.”
“Flawless logistics are risk mitigation tactics that also support productivity,” Jantzen says. “By keeping the principal on the move, it is possible to increase the number of meetings attended in a day and countries visited on a five-day trip. That’s the productivity side of executive protection services.”
Security Practitioners’ Capabilities
Executive protection isn’t what it used to be. Today’s goals and capabilities have been fashioned by years of experience with the dangers stalking the modern world. At the same time, today’s professional security practitioners understand that corporate security has two jobs: Keeping people and property safe while contributing to the company’s business goals in the way that executive protection can boost productivity.