Are You Too Small To Need Executive Protection?

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Are You Too Small To Need Executive Protection?

The need for Executive Protection is unrelated to the size of your bank account or the size of your company.  The need for Executive Protection is a threat based assessment based upon where you are, what you have and what other may wish to get from you.

The editors told me to pay special attention the executives and gold collar workers of medium sized business all the way down to development stage business.  In particular those who have never ever thought of the use or need for Executive Protection.

So lets start with some simple questions,

What do you have that someone else may want?  Technology, formulas, sealed bid information, or sensitive information about a company or a person that may cause them harm when disclosed.

In what environment are you working?  Are you working in Western Europe, Canada, The United States of America, or are you working in China, Japan or a disintegrating third world country.

What is the value of your hide or the information?  This is not what is the value to you, but what is the value to others who may wish to posses the information or prevent you from using the information.

Also, did you company telegraph information to others? Did they tell lawyers, accountants, and government officials or just issue press releases?

You get the idea of the exercise.  What is your hide or the information you possess worth, not to you, but to others who wish to possess your hide or the information.

One quick example was a junior level executive, that was to courier a bid and submit a bid on a large contract in Detroit.  Since – it was known he had the bid, and he was going to submit the bid, and the bid was a very large bid the company did consider Executive Protection, and dismissed the idea as it was in the United States – but for some reason at the last minute did chose to send one Executive Protection specialist with the junior executive.

It was a wise choice.  Many readers may not know but for a long time Detroit was a massively corrupt little city.  To add insult to economic injury, the corrupt leaders were absolutely bereft of any skills at being corrupt.  The corruption was not just municipal but also spread out into the contractapreneurs that did business with the city.

As this was a public bid, and the company who employed the junior executive was on the public record as both have expressed and interest in the bid and had qualified for the bid – the competition knew someone was coming to submit a bid.

The junior executive and the Executive Protection professional flew from Dallas to Detroit. It did not take long before the harassment started.  The junior executive’s luggage never arrived, we guess it was stolen in Detroit as the time luggage handling at the airport was all done by Union employees – we can’t say for sure who did it, but the rest of the story may offer some clues.  The junior executive and the EP professional had made it but a few miles from the airport when someone tried to run them off the road.  It was not an accident, as the other driver tried 3 times, but the EP was a trained driver.  The junior executive had a hotel reservation and when they arrived at the hotel, checked in and went to the room, the EP tried using his very cheep but portable listening device detector to check the room.  Three bugs were found.

Everything about this junior executive had been compromised to that point.  It was a bad John le Carré short story at best.  Did I mention – this was a very big contract and if accepted it would have been very disruptive to organized labor in MI.

It was time to think.  The EP professional suggested it was time to go shopping; the junior executive needed some clothes anyway, as he had nothing more than that which was on his back.  They drove to a local mall and The EP thought they were followed, but it is often hard to tell, and the EP thought it best that if in fact they were followed, it would be to their advantage.  Once in the mall, in adjoining fitting rooms, they changed into their new clothes. Also from the changing rooms the EP called another member of an EP association he belonged to and through him made new hotel reservations under the EP’s name and not the junior executive’s name.  They got up, left the mall, met the other EP professional at the designated mall entrance and all three went to the new hotel.

The junior executive used the EP’s phone and called the office, told them everything was fine and he was ready to deliver the bid at 11:00 am the next morning.  Nothing was said of the fun had that afternoon.  That night the local EP brought by food and some adult beverages – and they all laughed at the adventures.

The next morning the local EP professional picked up the two and delivered them to the address for submission of the bid.  On the way into the building, a woman, with two police officers in tow, screamed, “There they are.  Those are the men who beat me up last night!”, staring straight at the junior executive and his EP professional. The police grabbed the executive and the EP.  The local EP said just a moment, took the BID and ran it in and submitted the bid.  Later, at the police substation, the local EP professional came in to address the accusations.  The local EP was a reserve officer and let the local police know that both of them, the EP professional and the junior executive had been with him all night.  Further, he suggested without disclosing much that the woman may have been paid to make the accusation.  The prior day’s events were shared with the local police and then the questioning turned to accuser.

It took about 2 to 3 minutes before she rolled over on who she was, why she had made the accusations and how much she had been offered and by who, if she could stop the bid submission.  She had been encouraged to do this late the previous night after the junior executive failed to return to the first hotel room.

Indeed, it was one of the competitors, but a specific Union that faced loss of many jobs that had put her up to this stunt, it was members in a sympathetic union that had tried to run them off the road and bugged the room.  And yes, they were followed as they left to go to the mall, but were lost almost immediately as the one car following was an amateur and they got caught behind an unrelated car at a red light.

How did they get all of the information on the junior executive?  They called and pretended to be part of one of those travel loyalty programs and got all of the information on the flight, rental car and hotel from the junior executive personal assistant – who was trying to help.

It was a keystone cop attempt at putting off the bid, it failed.  But there was one more trick, the bid they worked so hard to deliver was determined to be a non-conforming. The bid screening committee, a majority of which were past or present Union members, eliminated the bid from Dallas so the Dallas bid was not even considered.  That’s where the litigation started.

Upon retuning the corporate office the junior executive had one heck of a ripping yarn.  I am sure he told the over and over again as though he was a foreign corresponded traipsing through the back alleys of Bagdad, with the story getting better and more colorful with each retelling – as all good stories must.  And why not, it was an interesting 24 hours, but for us EP – it’s just another day not at the office.

Sometimes the threat is real and very serious, sometimes it is implied or can be inferred, and sometimes it is stupid, but none-the-less very real.

Take the time to understand your threat profile.  Invest in an hour or two of a trained Executive Protection Specialist to help you make that assessment.


This Executive Protection article was written or edited by Baron James Shortt, the Executive Director of the IBA.

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