A disgruntled former employee is stalking the parking lot. The CEO always parks in the same spot and his name might even be on a plaque. The employee was let go last week, and has had time to obsess and decide that a confrontation is in order. Their intent may be limited to a verbal assault, or it could be to create an embarrassing videotaped situation for the executive. The next level of confrontation could be anywhere from physical harm, or proceed in severity on up to a kidnapping.

This is all retaliation from a disgruntled employee, perhaps they lost their livelihood and they want to confront the head of the company and demand an explanation. Why is the company downsizing? Shutting down their facility? Moving its operations overseas? Maybe they are seeking recognition for their efforts that have gone unnoticed. Perhaps they feel stuck in a position or pay scale with no upward mobility. There are generally a whole variety of reasons, some may seem somewhat logical, and some completely random.

What happens when the CEO is away from home?

The above scenarios can happen right in the company parking facility masterminded by one distraught, confused and angry individual. Imagine how much the concerns increase while traveling to other countries far outside the home base, or when dealing with well-planned multi-person plots targeting a high profile executive.

When an executive travels, they are out of their comfort zone. They may think they are just going to a meeting in major city like London for a day, but for those of a devious nature, a CEO’s separation from their pack creates a major opportunity for exploitation. The question is – how to help executives travel freely without anxiety and paranoia – while minimizing risk?

Control of pertinent corporate and personal information

People like to talk. People like to share. People often transmit information without thinking about repercussions. Unfortunately, not everyone can be trusted. The individuals with possession of pertinent information can’t be trusted to protect it, and we cannot foresee what those who gain access to the information will do with it. The goal is CONTROL.

When Pinkerton is involved in executive protection detail, our primary objective is to control the information. With foreign travel, for example, we know exactly who has access to the itinerary. We limit who knows the agenda, hotels, points of exposure, and the details of the executive protection agents. Additionally, the venues and services that can compromise security and transmit whereabouts and activities to others for monetary or strategic gain – restaurants, transportation companies, concierge and valet services, are closely vetted and monitored. Locations are advanced, backgrounds checked, and exit routes identified. Security professionals need to assess threats which might be overlooked or discounted by the executive or the company.

Preparing for the worst executive threat situations

We live in a world filled with uncertainty and as security professionals we have to evaluate our most likely threat, which unfortunately is people. Whether it’s labor unrest, or an activist group trying to make a statement, our goal is to protect our clients. In some occasions it may reach a point where these individuals are looking to embarrass the corporate executive with some stunt or planned calamity. Therefore, threats, risk and vulnerability have to be evaluated. When things escalate into the territory of actual physical harm – preparation is paramount. As with protection for celebrities, family members and activities need to be evaluated for open windows of vulnerability. They can be the source of secure itinerary specifics being broadcast beyond the inner trusted circle. Social media creates another door that should be kept shut to shield the VIP from the view of anyone with basic internet search skills. Security programs already in place may have cracks in their armor. Simple changes to incorporate – like driving a different route, and incorporating protective intelligence and GPS monitoring, and changing the predictable – can make the difference.

Choosing a premium firm with expert knowledge and experience is the key in reducing executives’ exposure to physical harm. When the CEO walks out of the company complex and across the parking lot on after a long productive day, he or she need to rest assured that the company has taken all reasonable efforts for their personal, familial and professional protection.

Published November 03, 2014