When threatening letters first arrived on the desks of the company’s CEO and two other senior executives, the Director of Security had immediately called Hillard Heintze. That had been two weeks ago – and in the time since, a fast-moving investigation had helped the company develop some critical background information on the author, a former employee, and put some immediate protective countermeasures related to executive protection and workplace violence prevention firmly in place.
But the threat – and the ongoing investigation – raised the possibility that the insurance company might need to establish a formal executive protection program. At the CEO’s direction, and as a separate workstream, Hillard Heintze initiated an independent security assessment to validate whether this need represented a “bona fide” businessoriented security concern and made recommendations on how such a program should be established.
A Careful, Risk-Based Approach
Hillard Heintze started with an examination of the primary risks and threats confronting the company’s leadership team given factors ranging from the company’s industry, business model and culture to executive transportation patterns, scope of travel and typical destinations and the history of threats and security-related events impacting the executive team, among many other factors. Armed with this information, the Hillard Heintze security assessors, technical experts and protective operations specialists then completed a rigorous examination of the personal residences of the CEO and several designated senior executives, including two recipients of the threatening letters.
Recommendations and Countermeasures
The critical gaps and vulnerabilities that emerged from this assessment were immediately addressed by the company and the individual executives themselves. Other factors – ones requiring significant levels of funding or coordination with other functional investments – were flagged by the CFO as high priorities and scheduled for implementation in the next business quarter. And, in special cases, enhanced levels of protection were provided during key meetings of the board and executive management team. One of the most visible impacts to the company’s leadership team, however, was a palpable new sense of assurance that the appropriate security steps were systematically being put into place.
Unplugged: The Project Manager’s Perspective
“We often encounter reluctance on the part of executive teams, their financing departments and their security personnel to take action until a threat, whether real or perceived, reminds everyone of the risks at hand.
“So it was gratifying to see that, instead of merely taking a ‘band aid’ approach, this set of decision makers insisted on taking a top-down, strategy-directed approach to ensuring the leadership’s safety.”