Kroll Inc.: Shoe-Leather Snoops Go High-Tech

By Mel Duvall  |  Posted 2002-09-01 Print this article Print

Dossier: From kidnapping to corporate espionage, Kroll excels in the kind of high-risk situations the other guys aren't prepared to handle. Many clients say it's worth its premium price.

Corporate espionage, embezzlement, kidnapping, mob threats, retrieving financial records from trashed computers, terrorist attacks ... these are not the events that most corporate security personnel are equipped to handle. When trouble like this strikes, Kroll Inc. is called to the rescue.

PDF DownloadKroll was retained to find the hidden assets of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos in the 1980s. The Kuwaiti government turned to Kroll to hunt down assets stolen by Iraq's Saddam Hussein during the 1991 Gulf War. The firm was appointed to monitor mob involvement in New York's garment industry.

After last year's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Carlos Villarreal was faced with having to calm nervous tenants as director of security for Chicago's Sears Tower, the nation's tallest building. While he did an exhaustive review of the building's security procedures in the days immediately after Sept. 11, he called in Kroll to review the building's security procedures, technology and policies for further insurance.

Villarreal says other firms submitted lower bids for the project, but given the circumstances, Kroll was worth the higher price.

Aside from those high-profile cases, Kroll earns its bread and butter from a wide range of conventional security services. In June, it acquired OnTrack Data International, a company that specializes in retrieving data from damaged hard drives.

Kroll is now one of the largest providers of electronic screening services for companies hiring new employees. Once again, the biggest knock against Kroll is that it charges more than competitors. But customers also credit Kroll for its speed. "Their technology is what impressed me the most," says Hugh Greeley, co-chairman of HCPro, a company that provides human resources services to 4,000 hospitals. "Other credential-verification companies needed 30 days. They're able to turn a check around for us in four to five days."

Greg Greene, senior vice president of global talent for trucking giant Ryder, decided to sign on for Kroll's screening services earlier this year. "The great thing about Kroll is they put it all under one roof," he says.

Kroll Inc.
900 THIRD AVE., New York, NY 10022
(212) 593-1000

Ticker: KROL
Exchange: NASDAQ
Employees: 1,520

Jules Kroll
Executive Chairman
Founded Kroll Associates, now a subsidiary of Kroll Inc., in 1972. Formerly an assistant D.A.

Michael Cherkasky
President, CEO
Former chief of the investigations division of N.Y. County District Attorney's Office, investigating crime figures such as John Gotti, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Joined Kroll in 1994, became president/CEO in 2001.

Ben Allen
President, Technology Services Group
Joined Kroll through its spring 2002 acquisition of OnTrack Data International, a company that specializes in the recov- ery of data from damaged hard drives. Previously served as OnTrack's president and CEO.

Businesses include: investigations and intelligence, forensic accounting, business turnaround and restructuring, security services (including physical security), employee screening, data recovery.

Reference Checks

Hugh Greeley
(262) 843-1531
Project: This Marblehead, Mass., firm uses Kroll employee screening services to check the credentials of physicians being considered for employment by its 4,000 hospital customers.

Trizec Office Properties, Sears Tower
Carlos Villarreal
Director, Security
(312) 875-0066
Project: Hired Kroll to investigate security procedures and policies in place at the Sears Tower in Chicago after Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Playboy Enterprises
Danielle Barcilon
Director, Technology
(212) 261-5000
Project: When its Web site was hacked in 2001 and credit card numbers stolen, Playboy hired Kroll to investigate.

ODC Integrated Logistics
Matthew Booher
Director, Information Technology
(775) 355-2150
Project: When a fired manager deleted valuable corporate data from the system, this Sparks, Nev., trucking company brought in Kroll's OnTrack division to retrieve the files.

Palmetto Health Trust Services
David Dodge
(803) 731-5300
Project: Company provides risk management services to 30 hospitals in South Carolina. Uses Kroll for employee screening.

Ryder System, Inc.
Greg Greene
Senior VP, Global Talent
(305) 500-3726
Project: Miami company uses Kroll employee screening services to check the backgrounds of potential new hires.

Executives listed here are all users of Kroll Inc.'s services. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

Contributing Editor
Mel Duvall is a veteran business and technology journalist, having written for a variety of daily newspapers and magazines for 17 years. Most recently he was the Business Commerce Editor for Interactive Week, and previously served as a senior business writer for The Financial Post.


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