Spending on personal security perk for CEOs is skyrocketing

CEOs in the USA have rarely been attacked or kidnapped in recent decades as they have been in places such as Colombia. In those higher-risk areas, security is provided for even those who report to the CEO. Coca-Cola has the home of Latin America President José Reyes in Mexico City guarded around the clock.

The price we pay for security

Licensed security guards can be had for $20 an hour, and a typical home electronic security system sold by ADT costs $7,000 to $15,000. But McKinney says ADT installed a $300,000 system for the CEO of an unidentified NFL football team a few years ago, and Provident Security of Vancouver, Canada, recently completed two residential camera systems in the $250,000 range, says company President Michael Jagger.

Kirkpatrick says it's not difficult to envision a $1 million personal-security price tag for a CEO who has a yacht and more than one home that need to be watched around the clock, and who wants a trained bodyguard, known in the industry as a "close protection specialist." Most CEOs can walk down any street without being recognized, but some like their close protection specialists nearby and obvious, like the ones who guard movie stars.

For about $700,000, ADT says, it will install a perimeter command center inside a custom home. From there it can monitor long-range infrared cameras, fence detectors, motion sensors and provide visitor access. It would also detect fire, carbon monoxide and flood.

"Security is one of those things where you can always spend more," says Jagger, who says a big-ticket item is the motion camera system that can detect someone lingering outside a fence for more than a few seconds.

That doesn't mean companies aren't price sensitive in these tough times, Kirkpatrick says. They demand the best security, but balk at inflated prices and do a lot of comparison shopping.

Many CEOs wind up with the security afforded a king but at a fire sale price, Kirkpatrick says.

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