Magazine article Management Today

Company Vitae: G4S

Magazine article Management Today

Company Vitae: G4S

Article excerpt

G4S is one of the biggest firms in an increasingly high-profile business these days - security. And it all grew out of four blokes on bicycles

Formative years

The company remembered by Brits of a certain age (in its Group 4 Securicor guise) for 'losing' a couple of prisoners en route to chokey is the product of numerous merger deals stretching back over the years Its oldest constituent is a Danish security-guard outfit called Falcke, founded in Copenhagen in 1901. Falcke in turn merged with the Belgian Group 4 in 2000.

The British side of the story, Securicor, began life as Nightwatch Services in 1935, the brainchild of former Liberal Home Secretary Edward Shortt. He took his inspiration from the Boys in Blue - his original four employees wore old police uniforms and rode bicycles.

Securicor built itself a nice line in guarding factories and transporting cash for banks and company payrolls, becoming a FTSE 100 member in the process. In 2004, Group 4 Falcke merged with Securicor to become Group 4 Securicor, then G4S.

Recent history

The rise in public sector outsourcing over the past two decades has been the making of G4S. Thanks to a willingness to take on everything from CCTV monitoring in shopping centres to prisons and border security, it turned over pounds 7.4bn in 2010. Operating in 125 countries, it provides security guards to the US government in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, 10,000 guards for the Olympic Games in London this summer - a deal worth pounds 200m. …

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