From Pies in the Face to Kidnapping, Executives Face Numerous Threats

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From Pies in the Face to Kidnapping, Executives Face Numerous Threats

Posted 2018-04-26 at 12:30PM
Post content by Cody Kantner, Director of Risk & Threat Intelligence at INA, Inc.

The amount of money companies spend on protection of CEOs, executives, and high profile individuals varies tremendously. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires security costs that provide a direct benefit to the executives to be disclosed. Even the costs on the SEC filing may not present an entire picture of all the costs associated with protecting a CEO or other executive. About the security costs associated with Apple CEO Tim Cook, one author notes of the nearly $700,000 spent to protect him in 2014, “The figure likely reflects only those costs that are specific to protecting Cook. There will, of course, be more general security costs associated with protecting Apple execs both at 1 Infinite Loop and at events (Lovejoy 2015).”

Executive protection costs listed in SEC filings are not itemized and therefore may include a variety of different security measures. These measures could include executive protection, security systems, etc. High profile CEOs/executives often receive threats to their personal safety and as a result require more security. Conversely, other CEOs/executives may not have as high of a profile and, therefore, do not need as much personal security. The type of security threats CEOs/executives may encounter also varies greatly. Threats may come from mentally unstable individuals, activists, terrorists, disgruntled employees, etc.

In recent years technology based companies such as Amazon and Facebook have spent significantly on CEO security. According to SEC filings, in 2015 Facebook spent $4.26 million on security for CEO Mark Zuckerberg. For security for Jeff Bezos of Amazon the company spent $1.6 million. Oracle spent $1.53 million on CEO Larry Ellison (McCarthy).

CEOs are viewed as extremely valuable to an organization and this value is often the justification for security costs. In a proxy statement in 2013, Oracle wrote of the $1.5 million it spent to protect Ellison, “We require these security measures for Oracle’s benefit because of Mr. Ellison’s importance to Oracle, and we believe these security costs and expenses are appropriate and necessary (Bednarz 2013).”

In particular, CEOs face many threats and risks. A few examples include in 1998, the CEO of Microsoft, Bill Gates, had a pie smashed in his face as he walked into a meeting. In 2015, the CEO of Y-12 Federal Credit Union, his wife, his daughter and other employees of the credit union were kidnapped by Michael Benanti. Benanti’s plot involved kidnapping family members and forcing bank employees to rob their own bank. In 2017, CEO Pavel Lerner of Top Crypto Exchange Exmo was kidnapped in the Ukraine. Also in 2017, Alan Joyce CEO of the airline Qantas had a pie smashed in his face during a speaking event.

With the growth of the internet and social media, information about CEO, other executives, high profile individuals and VIPs is readily available. Information such as their home address and speaking engagements may be found on the internet. Locating the information necessary to target a CEO has never been easier. Companies need to continue to consider the measures they will place on the protection of executives, VIPs, high profile individuals, and CEOs.

INA offers various services to help protect CEOs, executives, high profile individuals, and VIPs. These services include:

  • Executive Exposure Assessments – These assessments determine what information may be discovered about an executive, VIP, or high profile individual and how this information may be used to harm or threaten that individual. INA analysts attempt to locate information concerning home addresses, personal phone numbers, names of family members, and other pertinent information to identity areas of risk.
  • Executive Protection – INA’s security services provides trained and professional executive protection personnel while traveling at events and other times such security is necessary.
  • Risk Assessments – INA’s intelligence division conducts assessments of events, meetings, facilities, etc., to determine potential threats and risks.
  • Intelligence Monitoring – Identifying and providing insight about potential threats to executives and companies is critical to mitigating risk. INA provides intelligence monitoring programs tailored to the client’s needs in order to assist in risk mitigation.
  • Event/Meeting Security – Speaking engagements, conferences, shareholder meetings, and other events require teams of specialized security personnel to ensure the safety of the event and personnel attending. INA has experience managing these types of events and provides comprehensive security to mitigate potential threats.

INA’s staff of trained and professional security, intelligence, and investigative professionals is equipped and able to provide security and risk mitigation efforts for your personnel and organization.

Contact INA today for comprehensive programs to mitigate risk and provide security for you executives, VIPs, and high profile personnel.


  1. Bednarz, Ann. “Protection Is a Pricey Perk for Top Tech CEOs.” Network World. June 26, 2013.
    Link to article
  2. Lovejoy, Ben. “Apple Spends $700K/year on Keeping CEO Tim Cook Safe – SEC Filing.” 9 TO 5 Mac. August 7, 2015.
    Link to article
  3. McCarthy, Kieren. “Why Does It Cost 20 times as Much to Protect Mark Zuckerberg as Tim Cook?” The Register.
    Link to article