With great wealth comes great risk to your personal safety.
In October last year, Africa’s youngest billionaire, Mohammed Dewji, was kidnapped on his way to the gym.
Mark Zuckerberg drops up to $10 million a year on personal security for himself and his family. This includes $1,5 million spent on his personal aircraft – another aspect of his overall security program.
Then, earlier this year, Amazon installed $180 000 worth of bulletproof panels in founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ Seattle office, and that’s just the start.
Here’s The Daily Beast:
Amazon spends $1.6 million a year protecting Bezos when he’s outside company facilities and not traveling for work. It’s among the largest personal security budgets that public companies report paying to protect their CEOs, according to proxy filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Apple spent about $310,000 on personal security services for CEO Tim Cook last year, while Oracle set aside just over $1.6 million to protect CEO Larry Ellison.
According to Arnette Heintze, founder and CEO of Chicago-based risk and management consultancy Hillard Heintze, Bezos’ security budget “is a drop in the bucket for the security challenges these executives are confronting.”
But Bezos has challenges most other executives don’t—mostly notably from hostile tabloids and foreign powers with sophisticated intelligence services.
The Saudi Arabian government unleashed a torrent of social media attacks on Bezos after Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in a Saudi consulate in October. The Bezos-owned Post exhaustively reported emerging details that pinned the murder on an assassination squad ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In January, the National Enquirer joined the public assault, exposing Bezos’ then-secret love affair using text messages from his cellphone.
Bezos isn’t the only Amazon affiliate who needs protection. Over the years, the company has had to beef up security on all of its top people – like Worldwide Consumer chief Jeff Wilke and Andy Jassy, who heads Amazon’s cloud business.
The Seattle company spent about $75,000 to protect Jassy and Wilke outside company facilities and business trips last year, more than double their security expenditures in 2017.
Last year, Wilke’s office was outfitted with bulletproof glass, blast-resistant doors, and panic buttons as part of a $3.4 million high-security renovation project.
An elite group of guards known as Executive Protection Agents is charged with protecting senior executives.
The remainder of Amazon employees rely on an army of low-level security contractors paid to protect them and the more than 10 million square feet of office space they occupy.
Most of Bezos’ personal security is paid for out of pocket, though, which sets him apart from Zuckerberg.
It’s standard practice for most significantly wealthy people to pay for their own security, rather than getting their corporations to pay for it.
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