Mike Trott, author of The Protected

The Protected will be released in early 2019, until then I hope you enjoy a few excerpts.

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Executive Protection Defined

You will not find definitions in Webster’s Dictionary for executive protection or close personal protection. However, these terms can be defined as measures taken to ensure the safety and security of a person or persons who may be exposed to elevated personal threats, risks and/or vulnerabilities as a result of their title, position, employment, public profile, wealth, associations and geographical location.

In other words, executive protection (EP) involves a person with specialized skills – as well as a particular mindset and sense of dedication – keeping another person safe, even at their own peril. Of course, people in the profession understand it frequently goes even further. Often, experienced and polished EP professionals will also provide their principals with a limited level of executive and personal assistance while on travel and serve as coordinators and facilitators to ensure itineraries, travel and events are kept on schedule.

If we take the definition another step further, it could also be described as providing principals with a certain peace of mind regarding their personal safety, security and privacy that allows them to focus on their executive roles and leadership responsibilities.

Principals requiring protection today are a more diverse and dynamic group than ever before. While wealth isn’t the only motive for someone to request or require personal protection, it is often the reason for it. The number of ultra-high-net-wealth (UHNW) individuals and families has been on the rise for many years now. In March 2018, Forbes identified 2,208 billionaires from 72 countries and territories. In the U.S. alone, there are over 500 of these ultra-wealthy people. CNBC reported there is a new billionaire somewhere in the world every two days, with Asia leading this growth.

But you don’t have to be a billionaire to need or consider a level of executive protection. People using EP can often require various levels of assistance to facilitate their very active lifestyles, travel and exposure. They may represent governments, organizations, corporations and/or influential family dynasties, but can also be key decision-makers and social influencers. Some live to push the limits of exploration and invention, taking dangerous but calculated risks as a part of their norm.

The EP programs that protect such people usually evolve over time, beginning with the individual and then extending to the family; in most cases, coverage includes an office and one or more residences. Normally, the protection at some point involves travel support and begins to slowly cover other aspects of a principal’s life. As it does, the need for additional security facilitation by trained professionals grows with it. Eventually, if a program is developed for a corporate executive, a separate program for the family outside of the corporate program may be necessary to meet the security requirements.

Policies and procedures help establish an operational foundation and maintain consistency, but it is still important to recognize that EP encompasses more elements of an art than a science. Every principal, every family, every threat and every individual’s risk appetite is different. If the only standard of achieving effective close protection was keeping someone alive, the evaluation process would be simple – but flawed. Executive protection goes well beyond just protecting another life, and it’s in this area that there can be major variances in the capabilities of those providing these services. Therefore, principals should have the right expectations of the EP provider(s) they have hired. When capabilities and expectations don’t match, just like with most services, the result will be eventual disappointment on both sides.