NYC's Former Top Cop Turns Risk Manager

By Heires, Katherine | Risk Management, November 2014 | Go to article overview

NYC's Former Top Cop Turns Risk Manager


Heires, Katherine, Risk Management


When Raymond W. Kelly, former long-time head of the New York Police Department, walks into a building, its risk profile is never far from his thoughts. Although he is no longer in law enforcement, security questions quickly come to Kelly's mind, including: What are the potential dangers for the people passing through every day? What are the vulnerabilities of the structure in the event of a nuclear, chemical, biological or radiological attack or weather-related incident? How well are the building's computer-based operations and management systems monitored and protected? Are they vulnerable to manipulation or takeover by cyberterrorists, computer hackers, protesters, or disgruntled current and ex-employees?

Kelly is now the president and head of the newly formed risk services division of Cushman & Wakefield, the world's largest privately-held commercial real estate firm. Based in New York, the firm boasts more than $4 billion in real estate assets under management and operates out of 150 offices in 60 countries, including key cities such as San Francisco, Sydney, Hong Kong and Shanghai. It is also looking to expand in emerging markets such as Africa and the Middle East.

Kelly joined Cushman & Wakefield in March, bringing extensive risk, security, public safety and terrorism-fighting experience gained through posts that include commissioner of the New York Police Department, commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service and undersecretary of enforcement at the U.S. Treasury Department. At the request of president and CEO Ed Forst, he is creating a new risk management service for the firm.

"My role at Cushman & Wakefield is to create a new service line in an organization that has been a leader in the field for over a century," Kelly said. "Its an exciting challenge." He added that the growing threat of global terrorism and its potential impact on the firms clients--commercial property owners, major corporations and those who work for them--will be a primary concern.

"I'm paying a lot of attention to building security and risk management at Cushman & Wakefield, though certainly, Sept, n was a game-changer in terms of the way that everyone thinks about commercial property security," Kelly said.

Experiences and lessons learned in the aftermath of 9/11 are never far from Kelly's thoughts and color his perspective on security and risk management issues. "While organizations have to confront and mitigate risks at every turn, the paramount risk in todays world is terrorism," he said, noting that, according to State Department statistics, the number of people killed in terrorist attacks grew from about 11,000 in 2012 to nearly 18,000 in 2014. In addition, while the leadership of Al Qaeda has been degraded significantly, the number of terrorists operating under jihadist banners is greater than ever, including emerging and dangerous threats like ISIS, which Kelly has called "Americas number-one threat?

Thus, Kelly sees his role as a challenge to create a new type of risk management service that focuses not just on traditional threats, but also on current geopolitical threats to commercial property and its inhabitants. There are three risk areas he will focus on: people, facilities and information.

"Regarding risks to people, they can involve customers, workers and others and can run the gamut from the threat of pandemic disease to active shooter situations," Kelly said. "Risks regarding a facility can involve anything from a natural disaster or mechanical failure within the building to a terrorist event, and third is information security." This latter category has become more challenging given the variety of intrusions that can occur. "These are the range of factors that corporate risk managers now have to be wary of," Kelly said.

His goal in building a new risk services unit is "to add a greater level of protection for our clients, their assets and the people they work with," Kelly said. …

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