When company executives head out on the road, the stakes are extremely high. The reputation of the company, the brain power behind its success, the public-facing persona —it’s all on the line. And these days, when the world has so much access to the lives of the rich and famous, protecting executives is especially complex

Here are the potential pitfalls of modern executive travel and tips for how to mitigate them.


The Basics Can Bite You

Despite their success or celebrity, when an executive goes out into the field, they are ultimately still just a person, susceptible to the most basic risks of health and safety as any other person. A blistered foot can turn into an infection. Food borne illness can strike. Don’t let something minor take down the figurehead of your company.

It’s the responsibility of the company’s risk manager to take into account even the most basic scenarios. They need to make sure the team is equipped with a first-aid kit that can cover anything from minor scrapes to food poisoning. When the risk manager covers off on these basics, executives will be comfortable in the small ways that make a real difference on an important work trip.

A man in a stretcher is wheeled out of an ambulance by three paramedics.


Be Ready for Serious Medical Emergencies

Before leaving for the trip, make certain the entire security team is aware of any concerns in the executive’s medical history. Do they have chronic back problems? What is your plan if they do? Are they diabetic or hypoglycemic? Make sure you have necessary supplies like insulin and nourishing snacks on hand. These illnesses can be particularly hard to manage internationally, where medical supplies and resources may be less readily available. This is especially true in remote locations where medical services may be limited.

Increasingly, the best executive protection teams include a medical professional in case serious medical emergencies occur.



“Business executives are among the biggest targets of phishing and whaling attacks, in large part because they have such a high level of access to important data,” said CSO Online. “It’s vital that executives know what to look for that would indicate such an attack.”

This is especially true when executives travel to countries where internet connections are not as stable.

Protection against cyber crime starts before the trip begins by educating executives about digital security. Cyber security refers to every aspect of protecting an organization, its employees and their digital assets against cyber threats. As cyberattacks become more common and sophisticated and corporate networks grow more complex, a variety of cyber security solutions are required to mitigate corporate cyber risk.



Threats can often come from email. Modern email clients can make it easier to tell when a message comes from outside the organization but, according to Andrew Ellis, CSO at Akamai Technologies, a provider of content delivery network services, not all do. “Consider advising your company to tag, or change colors, of all messages from outside the company.”


Kidnappings and Shootings

Kidnappings and assassinations are perhaps the most feared risks of any executive travel. To protect against these extreme scenarios, the key is to avoid the risk altogether.

“A security detail is inherently proactive, meaning that it travels ahead of your team to evaluate the level of security of your destination and, if necessary, change plans. Of course, they can also respond to crises, but avoidance is the top goal,” said Harding Bush, a former Navy SEAL and senior manager for security operations at Global Rescue. He is also an expert in high-risk travel, cultural awareness, crisis preparedness, leadership and operational planning.


Cultural Awareness Is Protection

If your executive is headed to another country, they need to be briefed about cultural differences and taboos in advance. If they are not clued into these realities, their behavior could garner disrespect from the locals on the ground and put them at a greater risk.

This is especially important if your executive’s gender, lifestyle, political or religious beliefs put them in conflict with the prevailing cultural norms of the business trip designations.


[Related Reading: Better Awareness, Safer Travel]


Get Executives on Board

In order for any of this to work, executives need to be bought in.

CSO Online states, “Teaching the executive how to remain safe, emergency procedures, expectations from the security detail, and familiarization with protocols can be a tremendous asset in an emergency.”

Make sure your executives are briefed on the plan and are ready to follow the procedures set in place. This will increase safety and productivity, allowing business objectives to be met even in challenging and remote locations.


A Plan With No Omissions

“Corporate liability extends to omissions as well as negligence,” TravelPerk reported.

That’s why you need a partner to help you think through a comprehensive executive protection plan. Global Rescue is that partner.

Our team of security and medical experts can help you create and execute a plan with no omissions. The safety of your people and the reputation of your company depend on it.


Contact Global Rescue about traveler medical and security protection membership opportunities today.