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Since 1977

Since 1977, multinationals have called on The Ackerman Group for counsel on a broad range of security and investigative issues. We have been retained by the Chubb Corporation for 36 years to respond to emergencies on behalf of holders of its Kidnap Ransom and Extortion insurance policy.

Our emphasis is on prevention, but, in an emergency, we respond with unparalleled professionalism. Our tenacity and resourcefulness have earned us a reputation as the crisis management authority for beleaguered corporate decision-makers.

Services

Risknet®
The Ackerman Group's widely followed on-line risk-forecasting service analyzes terrorism, crime, and political stability risks in 100 countries. It is updated every business day.
Protective Services
Our thrust is to prepare executives, their families and staffs to practice levels of security competence sufficient to dissuade potential assailants, both terrorist and criminal.
Executive Protection
We pride ourselves on our ability to arrange and oversee visits to high-risk areas throughout the world, and to protect personnel, meetings and special events.
Crisis Management
Our professionalism in responding to a wide range of corporate emergencies is broadly and enthusiastically acknowledged.
Investigations
Consistent with clients' needs, we have the capacity to investigate complex criminal activities, such as fraud or theft rings, as well as vital due diligence background investigations.
IT security
Our experts have extensive experience in closing holes in computer networks, and limiting the opportunities for hackers to steal, corrupt or delete corporate information.

About us

We are best known for our specialization in counterterrorism - analyzing risks, protecting personnel and property, planning for contingencies and recovering hostages. But our political-stability projections have earned an enthusiastic following, as have our strategies for safeguarding inventories and our innovative investigative skills. Indeed, we are fast acquiring leadership status in the investigative realm, including intellectual property protection and assets tracing.

Also, clients seek out our intelligence, negotiating, communications and protective expertise when facing a wide range of emergencies - from extortions, to wrongful detentions, to evacuations, to intractable problems with violence-prone labor and fringe groups.

Moreover, as an entirely consultant-owned concern, The Ackerman Group renders advice independently of manufacturers of security hardware, alarm and guard services, and insurance underwriters.

Our methodologies are thorough, balanced, deliberate, proven - and cost-effective. Our discretion is absolute.

Insights
"Mike Ackerman gives sage advice, distilled from decades of firsthand experiences, about how to negotiate with kidnappers and other terrorists-if you must." Howard Raiffa | Harvard Business School
Order Book

Services

The Ackerman Group provides a variety of services to safeguard our clients' employees and their families. By providing comprehensive protection against the full spectrum of threats, we provide an unparalled level of security.

Our Risknet® service provides concise, up-to-the-minute analyses of risks in 100 countries. Risknet® is updated throughout the business day and can be accessed electronically worldwide around the clock. It consists of the following:

Executive Digest

Highly analytical reports give early warning of impending developments

Country Summaries

Summaries put risks into perspective

Air Travel Guidance

Analyzes information on latest terrorist risks concerning international travel

City Guide

Helps travelers navigate foreign cities

Terrorist-group Glossary

Provides information on major terrorist organizations

Urgent Inquiries

Clients with urgent inquiries are assured instant, 24-hour telephone access to our area specialists

Customized Surveys

Our analysts also are available for customized surveys and recommendations on countries or regions under consideration for new or expanded investment. Risknet® is included in Chubb Corporation's Kidnap/Ransom and Extortion insurance policy. You may also subscribe for a yearly fee

Training Managers in High-Risk Areas

Individual or group training is given to executives, both expatriate and local, their families and staffs to improve their security practices, sensitize them to recognizing surveillances and prepare them to respond effectively to emergencies. Activity patterns of executives are analyzed in detail and recommendations are given for modifying them to mitigate risks.

Protective Driving Training:

Executives and/or their drivers are briefed on the conceptual basis for antiterrorist-driving methodology and instructed in techniques. We also conduct "hands-on" driving exercises both domestically and overseas.

Security-Awareness Training for Travelers:

It is neither possible nor necessary to provide protective details for the vast majority of executives who travel or reside overseas, so we place our major emphasis upon personal-security-awareness training. Our seminars survey terrorist/criminal methodologies and explain "gray" - anonymous - travel, airline - selection strategies, tactics for avoiding street crime, means of protecting sensitive information and other countermeasures.

Training Protective Personnel:

We support our executive-protection strategizing with tailored, state-of-the-art training for protective personnel. The stress is on meticulous advance work, efficient personnel deployment and fluid crisis response.

We pride ourselves on our ability to arrange and oversee visits to high-risk areas throughout the world, and to protect personnel, meetings and special events.

We are prepared to provide protective details, utilizing drivers and security escorts vetted and, in many cases, trained by our protection specialists. Transportation in soft (unarmored) or hard (armored) vehicles can be arranged as required.

If the client so chooses, visits may be "advanced" and supervised by protection specialists on our staff. The credentials of our language- and area-qualified specialists are impeccable, and they stand ready to coordinate security, communications, logistics and protocol requirements.

Our professionalism in responding to a wide range of corporate emergencies is broadly and enthusiastically acknowledged.

Development of Contingency Plans:

We are prepared to assist corporations in the formulation of crisis-management plans for kidnappings and other extortions, bomb-control guidelines and procedures for evacuating employees from unstable areas.

Threat Evaluations:

Our consultants travel at a moment's notice to evaluate threats levied by political or labor movements, or disgruntled or dismissed employees, calling upon psychiatric resources when necessary. They also arrange for the protection of the individual or asset at hazard.

Hostage Recoveries:

Our 24-hour availability assures immediate response to a kidnapping, and we are prepared to advise and assist the victim corporation through every aspect of the recovery process. Working under corporate decision-makers, we propose strategies, interface with law-enforcement authorities, handle negotiations, and protect and even deliver ransom funds - always with the objective of assuring the survival of the hostage.

Extortion:

We also are called upon to deal with monetary demands levied in connection with threats to harm an employee, damage a critical corporate resource, including a database or website, or contaminate a consumable product. Again, our reaction is immediate, our experience substantial and our paramount concern the protection of the client corporation's personnel and assets.

Emergency Evacuations:

We are ready to travel on short notice to assist in evacuating employees from areas that have turned hazardous. If necessary we are prepared to employ unconventional extraction methodologies.

Other Crises:

Companies often find themselves unprepared to cope with those who would play hardball, especially in unfamiliar foreign climes. We help level the playing field.

Our extensive network of investigative resources, developed and refined in the course of 35 years, covers not only the United States but extends to the farthest reaches of the globe. And our excellent relations with law-enforcement agencies, both domestic and foreign, facilitate investigative steps and, if required, criminal prosecutions.

We approach all investigations in a prudent, deliberate manner. After analyzing clients' needs, we profer realistic strategies, ranging from the very basic to the exceptionally innovative. Often, a conservative approach is indicated, whereby we undertake an initial inquiry within a defined, reasonable budget. Its results and, when appropriate, suggested avenues of further exploration are presented to the client, who decides whether a fuller effort is warranted. Moreover, we add value to the information generated in the inquiry by collating it into a precise, perceptive, timely report.

DUE DILIGENCE

  • Employment candidates, potential acquisitions and prospective joint-venture partners and franchisees
  • Review of criminal and civil history, credit history, financial data and history, education history, employment history, governmental and regulatory checks, social media, and reputation via interviews
  • Investigations conducted online and in-person; world-wide reach

FRAUD

  • Direct financial losses, such as embezzlement or health insurance fraud
  • Indirect financial losses, such as kickback/bribery schemes, conflict-of-interest situations or bid-rigging/collusion
  • Product diversion investigations and surveillance operations

CONVENTIONAL THEFT

  • Breaches of the production-distribution chain through inventory erosion, diversion, hijacking
  • Corporate penetration by criminal organizations

UNDERCOVER

  • Placing experienced operatives inside client facilities to develop intelligence on thefts
  • Setting up reverse stings to expose criminally errant employees, vendors and distributors

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

  • Market-watch programs
  • Controlled "buys" to identify retailers, wholesalers, importers and, ultimately, manufacturers of bogus goods

COMPUTER FORENSICS AND CYBER INVESTIGATIONS

  • Data recovery from workstations, laptops and servers
  • Fraud and intellectual property theft; identity theft
  • Investigation and prevention of intrusions
  • Analyzing and documenting user access histories

Our comprehensive IT security audits have helped client corporations identify and remedy vulnerabilities in their computer networking systems and on their websites. Our experts have extensive experience in closing holes in computer networks, and limiting the opportunities for hackers to steal, corrupt or delete corporate information.

Having audited a wide range of computer systems, we have a great breadth of experience from which to assess the degree to which a computer network conforms to industry best standards and practices.

We also have on staff expert programmers, experienced in analyzing website vulnerabilities, and remedying them so that the websites are not hacked.

IT security audits include assessments and remedies for:

  • Firewalls, routers, and perimeter defenses
  • Networking topology and infrastructure
  • Connectivity with data centers, and securing data transfer
  • Public footprint
  • Server vulnerabilities
  • Workstation vulnerabilities
  • Domain policies
  • User and group rights, access permissions
  • Remote access
  • Wireless connection
  • Linked mobile devices
  • Data backup
  • Secure handling of data and data destruction
  • Information security handling

When negative publicity is posted on the Internet about a person or corporation, we provide assistance in manipulating this information so that it is hidden or more difficult to locate. We also assist in tracing and identifying the individuals who have posted the information.

Management Team

Our superb staff -- with invaluable experience in the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and military special-operations units -- possesses in-depth area knowledge and personal contacts in virtually every corner of the world. We work in more than 20 languages.
President and CEO
Widely acknowledged as one of America's leading authorities on terrorism, Mike Ackerman's forte is recovering kidnap victims. He has lectured at the National War College, the Harvard Business School and Dartmouth's Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, has appeared before the crisis-management teams of numerous multinational corporations and has made more than 50 appearances as a commentator on terrorism and intelligence matters on FoxNews and other news networks. His book, Counterterrorism Strategies for Corporations: The Ackerman Principles, was published in 2008. Ackerman served in the CIA's Clandestine Services for 11 years before resigning in 1975 to protest the congressional investigation of the Agency then in progress and plead for the preservation of America's intelligence capability. In the CIA he had undertaken intelligence operations in 20 European, Latin American and African countries. Fluent in Spanish and conversant in Russian and Italian, Ackerman graduated from Dartmouth College magna cum laude and holds an M.A. from Columbia. He was a security officer in the US Air Force Strategic Air Command.
Executive Vice President, Operations
Wes Odom joined The Ackerman Group in 1990, following a 15-year career in the CIA's Clandestine Services. At the CIA, he had specialized in foreign intelligence operations and counterterrorism and garnered extensive experience in technical surveillance. He had tours in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and served as an instructor in the Agency's operational training program. A fluent Spanish speaker, he holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of West Florida and served with a US Navy Seabee battalion in Vietnam.
Vice President, Operations
Frank Pedrozo served 29 years in the US Army, achieving the rank of colonel. A Special Forces officer, he commanded the US Military Liaison Office in Mexico, the Special Troops Battalion of V Corps, US Army-Europe, and served as a military advisor in El Salvador during that country's civil war. Pedrozo holds a B.S. from West Point, a Master's in Strategic Planning from the US Army War College and an M.A. in International Relations from Salve Regina University. His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Bronze Star with "V" Device. Pedrozo speaks native Spanish and is conversant in Portuguese and German.
Vice President, Operations
John D. Wright served as a Special Agent of the FBI from 1988 to 2012. His last post was Supervisory Senior Resident Agent with responsibility for southern Utah. He has participated in and overseen criminal investigations into white collar crime, money laundering and organized criminal enterprises. In addition, he was a member of the unit that responds to kidnappings of Americans overseas and worked numerous cases. He was awarded the FBI Medal for Meritorious Achievement. Prior to joining the FBI, John, who is fluent in Spanish and conversant in Portuguese, served four years as a police officer in a Salt Lake City suburb. He has a B.A. from the University of Utah.
Vice President, Analytical Services
Bill Reynolds joined The Ackerman Group in May 2001 and is Vice President, Forecast Services. A journalist by trade, he has years of experience in the former Communist bloc. He arrived in Czechoslovakia upon the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, filing stories for US newspapers as the country peacefully dissolved into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993. During the same period, he made frequent reporting trips to the former Yugoslavia, then splitting apart. He moved to Ukraine in 1995, and from 1998 to 2001 edited the leading English-language newspaper in Baku, Azerbaijan. Fluent in Russian, he holds a BA in political science at Temple University.
Director, IT Security
George Dew joined The Ackerman Group in 1998. Previously, he had served five years in the CIA's Clandestine Services and six years as a US Navy SEAL. Dew also worked as an investment banker on Wall Street and founded a computer networking and software development company, Response Networking Inc. Dew has appeared on Fox News as a technical expert. He holds a B.A. in biochemistry from the University of Colorado and an M.B.A. from Georgetown. Fluent in Spanish and French, he is conversant in Mandarin and Cantonese. Dew is a certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instructor.
Regional Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa
Adam Stanley-Smith served six years in the US Marine Corps, achieving the rank of captain. He participated in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, leading a mechanized infantry platoon from Kuwait to Baghdad. Subsequently, he served in the Current Operations Section of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC), supporting the establishment of the command and team training and deployments. After leaving the Marine Corps, Stanley-Smith taught basic military skills and tactics to army units in Burundi and Djibouti. He holds a BA in International Studies from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), an MBA from the prestigious HEC School of Management in Paris and Master of Science in Economics from the NHH School of Economics in Bergen, Norway. He is fluent in French and proficient in Spanish.
Regional Director, Asia
Chuck Krueger served 23 years in the US Army, beginning in the enlisted ranks and retiring as a lieutenant colonel. A Special Forces and Foreign Area Officer specializing in Asia, he served in the 1st and 7th Special Forces Groups, the 101st Air Assault Division and the 2nd Infantry Division. Following his retirement from the army, Krueger served as a project manager for security at the US Embassy, Bangkok, and as security manager for a firm servicing more than 40 airlines at Bangkok International Airport. He has a B.S. in Business Administration from Indiana University, an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Kansas and an M.B.A. from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Krueger is fluent in Mandarin and Thai.
Director, Investigations
J.M. Guzman served 10 years in the U.S. Air Force, attaining the rank of major. He was assigned to the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), the Air Force’s investigative wing, and led OSI operations in the southern sector of Iraq. He also served in OSI’s Strategic Counterintelligence Branch and led a fraud investigations unit. A distinguished graduate of Officer Training School, the Federal Criminal Investigator Training Program and the Air Force’s Basic Investigator Training Program, Guzman’s awards include four commendation medals. A native Spanish speaker, he is a graduate of Yale University and has an MA in Classical History from American Military University.

Contact us

The Ackerman Group has offices in Miami, Salt Lake City, Munich, Bangkok, and correspondents throughout the world. Our clients include some 65 of America's top 100 multinationals, along with numerous European and Japanese companies.

1666 Kennedy Causeway - Suite 506 - Miami, FL 33141

Tel: 305-865-0072

e-mail: info@ackermangroup.com

Tel: 801-653-2512

Cellular: 305-298-2117

e-mail: wodom@ackermangroup.com

Tel: +33 611 63 22 42

e-mail: astanley-smith@ackermangroup.com

Tel: +66-(0)81-171-6834

e-mail: ckrueger@ackermangroup.com

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