The Startling Cost of Keeping CEOs Safe

You might think a CEO faces much less day-to-day danger than a firefighter or police officer, but security costs seem to suggest otherwise.

The Startling Cost of Keeping CEOs Safe Photo (cc) by 401(K) 2013

How much does it cost to protect a CEO? Try nearly $700,000. Or even $1.6 million.

Those are some of the figures cited by CNN Money in a list of big companies and what they pay in CEO security costs. According to the website:

Many large companies dish out hefty bucks to protect their leaders. Businesses often pay for CEOs’ home security, as well as private flights and guards when they’re on the move.

The blog Patently Apple recently combed public records and reported that Apple paid Tim Cook, the company’s chief executive, about $700,000 for his security last year.

Cook also made CNN Money’s list. All of the following figures represent spending for the year 2014. In all cases, the amount of security costs was listed as part of the CEO’s “all other compensation” in documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Jeff Bezos, chief executive, $1.6 million for “security arrangements for Mr. Bezos in addition to security arrangements provided at business facilities and for business travel,” according to documents filed with the SEC.
  • Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive, the Walt Disney Co.: $1,005,993 ($614,582 for “security services and equipment,” $391,411 for “personal air travel,” according to documents filed with the SEC). The company paid for these expenses “in an amount that the Board of Directors believes is reasonable in light of his security needs and, in the interest of security, requires the chief executive officer to use corporate aircraft for all personal travel,” the documents say.
  • Tim Cook, chief executive, Apple: $699,133 for “security expenses,” according to documents filed with the SEC.
  • Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and chief executive, Facebook: $610,454 for “costs related to personal use of aircraft chartered in connection with Mr. Zuckerberg’s overall security program and on which Mr. Zuckerberg and guests flew during 2014,” according to documents filed with the SEC. Aircraft costs include “passenger fees, fuel, crew, and catering costs.”
  • Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive, Berkshire Hathaway: $364,011 for “personal and home security services,” according to documents filed with the SEC.

What do you think about the amount companies spend on CEO security? Share your thoughts in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More

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