Corporate Executive Protection (EP) Program Development

A flexible, risk-based, and intelligence-led approach to Executive Protection (EP) is the methodology most aligned to high-level corporate EP programs. To successfully implement a program of this nature requires a robust threat assessment system and a senior security manager that is the primary decision-maker as to whom gets that level of security and when. It also requires timely, accurate, and relevant protective intelligence support to identify and understand threats that will guide resource allocation, and appropriate plans

Who Gets Executive Protection and Secure Ground Transportation (SGT)

There is often a two-pronged approach to this decision-making process;

The First – being the ‘key person piece’ often the CEO and Chairman. The “Key-man” loss or significant disruption impacts business continuity and value. Regardless of specific threat or risk, the goal is to avoid anything happening to the person/s. If something happens to CEO and Chairman, the company is at risk.

  • “Key-man” loss or significant disruption impacts business continuity and value
  • The CEO is the ultimate person responsible for lay-offs and these are a daily issue that can escalate and are most likely to become a ‘flash-point’– thus WPV and targeted attack is a persistent risk. Therefore, the CEO requires appropriate security to counter this persistent threat.
  • High-net worth implies valuable assets attractive to criminals (i.e. Tamara Ecclestone – $67M loss)
    • Theft
    • Extortion/threats
    • Kidnap
    • Cyber targeting
  • Thefts/Burglaries often escalate to assault
  • Poorly coordinated or vetted travel provides opportunities for criminals to exploit
  • Risk assessments and associated security planning and logistics are necessary for increasing international travel (business and personal)
  • Safety, security, and related logistics support and contingency planning (transportation, emergency medical, evacuation) correlates to less disruption in productivity
  • Key-man risk management as an element of risk mitigation reflected in:
    • Bond Offerings
    • Tax consequences – 3rd party audits include a comprehensive audit of security programs

The other consideration and planning requirement to the ‘key-person’ approach is to what level are they supported and secured. This is subject to the variables noted below.

The Second – is SVP or other C-Suite and is based on threat, role, and reason. It is important to look at it from three buckets/Lens’:

  1. Targeted e.g. Aggrieved persons/WPV/Criminal/Gang/Kidnap
  2. Collateral e.g. Coup/Terrorism/Active-shooter/Fire
  3. Opportunistic e.g. Crime/Express kidnap/Vehicle attack

The senior security manager, supported by protective intelligence would assess threats, vulnerability, and business case to deploy and resource executive protection and/or secure transportation to company employees based on variables such as status, role, location/s to be visited, and events.

Other Considerations for Corporate EP programs:

  • Protective Intelligence operation is vital to identify threats, gauge risk, and work proactively.
  • The CSO makes the overriding decision
  • The EAs of the VIPs communicate and liaise with the Security team
  • Careful assessment of when EP should be covert Vs low profile Vs high-profile
  • Taking into account the company culture is important, but the tail should not wag the dog
  • Business/Private use of a jet has obvious tax consequence
    • Requirement under tax code, business use of aircraft for security – third party would come to confirm that a security case exists. The company has to have taken other measures to secure the CEO, so that they can align that with the reason for the jet.
    • The IRS would likely target you if you have Jet for security but no formal EP program, RST etc.
    • The best way to write off a private Jet for tax is for security reasons (apparently) – but it needs to be audited and justified. Likely only doable at a CEO and Chairman level.
  • There are multiple considerations and components of an EP Program
  • The primary components that are often neglected are:
  • There is often a complacency surrounding the residences of CEOs and C-Suite that assumes a level of safety if an intrusion detection system, and cctv system is in-place. There are an array of considerations and levels that should be undertaken and managed in relation to Residential Security.
  • Special Events. Quite often poor protective intelligence will only focus on direct threats. The chances of an indirect threat, whether that be geographical, social, political, or a direct threat to someone a stage, or location is shared with has a significant impact. Also, through the lens of disruption, and targeted versus collateral threats.
  • Journey management. SGT significantly improves traveler safety by working to control the variables that could negatively impact the security of a traveler. Some examples of these variables that could impact a traveler include but are not limited to:
  • Time spent in public spaces e.g. airports, sidewalks, restaurants, meeting points etc.
  • Unknown and/or unvetted drivers
  • Untrained drivers
  • Poor communication, monitoring, and oversight

Secure Transportation In Detail:

  • Travelers are more exposed to hazards when in transit – particularly when traveling by road or awaiting transportation outside of an airport, venue or business premises. The predominant risks include; crime, sexual assault, and attack.
  • A large amount of incidents tend to arise when people are in transit (especially traveling in vehicles), these include assault, theft, sexual attack, kidnap, fraud, and robbery.
  • The risk of road traffic crash is always the biggest danger to every traveler.
  • Medical emergency is often overlooked and whenever moving within a vehicle. If involved in an incident, medical response and emergency medical treatment may not be to the level that you get in your home country. Mid-level or minor issues can quickly develop, especially if in rural areas, or away from definitive and high-level medical care.

Executive Protection and Airport Transfers

  • An Executive Protection officer supporting an airport transfer facilitates a fast, efficient, and safe exit from the airport.  When arriving at the airport, the security driver will stay with the vehicle and identify vulnerable areas or unusual behavior and react accordingly.
  • They stage the vehicle nearby, ready to be called forward when appropriate. The EP officer positions at the passenger exit point and operates in a proactive threat detection role to identify any potential hostiles, and pre-empt potential dangers.
  • The Executive protection officer having been identified to the client prior (via a photo) as well as using other systems will provide a low-profile meet and greet service within the airport terminal and escort to the pick-up point.
  • Then, the Executive Protection officer ensure safe embus into the vehicle (now in-position kerbside) at a pre-arranged secure pick-up location.  This is the safest option and prevents the driver from leaving the vehicle, reducing exposure levels and enabling a more dynamic pick-up.
  • If there wasn’t an Executive Protection Officer, then the driver would have had to park the vehicle, meet the traveler/s and then escort them to the staging area. Which isn’t necessarily bad, but it is slower than the alternative. Depending on the airport this may require some extra time, parking ticket complications etc. However, for medium to high risk locations, any delays can increase risk. This is why it is important to make risk based, intelligence-led decisions.
  • SGT should be used by organizations in locations that they (the organization’s decision makers) assess to be at the appropriate risk level that should mandate extra precautions to be taken. Areas to assess include but are not limited to:
    • Crime levels including current incidents
    • Political stability
    • Road Infrastructure
    • Duration and route of travel/s
    • Topography
    • Road Traffic incident data
    • Cultural issues (e.g. female travel safety)

Executive and C-Suite Travel and Secure Transportation – Considerations

The key differentiator between C-suite and other travelers is primarily the likelihood of more complex itineraries, and last minute changes. The number of people involved in the management of that itinerary is often higher, and therefore most secure transportation services at the c-suite level often require significant project management and designated overwatch. The flexibility that is often required including the communication with multiple stakeholders and assessment and management of risk that adapts to the changes is often best aligned to SGT.

Female Travel Security and Secure Transportation

There are two risks that female travelers are more likely to fall victim to:

  1. Opportunistic violent crime e.g. mugging
  2. Sexual Assault

Criminals by nature are predators and will normally focus attention on ‘easy targets’. Sexual predators may focus on women they assume will not have anyone immediately ‘missing them’ or checking in on them. They will also more likely work to position themselves into a role, or place where they have the best chance of success.

The nature of the predominant risks makes rideshare services, and unregulated taxi services an increased risk for female travelers.

Other EP and SGT considerations:

  • Incident Response – what if a MCI, or serious issue occurs
  • Reputational Risk – if EP is not managed well it can have a negative impact
  • Logistical Support and time management – time is an extremely valuable resource/asset and EP by its nature improves efficiency.