Nothing says, “We’re through with scandal!” quite like hiring a former executive from one of the country’s leading economic bloodsuckers.
Blackwater — sorry, Xe Services — really wants to turn the PR page from the bad old days of Nisour Square, when the infamous private security firm’s guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians. It’s no longer owned by Erik Prince, who may be involved in yet another shady mercenary firm. It’s on a hiring spree for new executives. And that’s kind of the problem.
Xe’s new owners, USTC Holdings, aren’t exactly bringing in scandal-free talent to run Xe v.2.0. On Monday, they announced Xe’s new “Chief Regulatory & Compliance Officer,” a new position for the company, will be Suzanne Folsom, most recently of insurance giant AIG.
Yes, the woman in charge of making sure the world’s most infamous private security firm is in compliance with U.S. laws and regulations is a veteran of the insurance giant that helped plunge the country into financial chaos. The public bailed out AIG to the tune of $182 billion. Folsom — then as now, regulatory compliance chief for a scandal-plagued firm — got a golden parachute reportedly worth $1 million.
Nor is Folsom the only such example. Xe’s new CEO is Ted Wright, hired June 1 to run the company after helming North American operations for military services giant KBR. Among KBR’s recent hits: kidnapping Filipinos to work for the company in Iraq; confining its Iraq workers to “windowless warehouses“; and locking a woman employee in isolation after she was gang-raped — by other KBR employees.
Then there’s the fact that Xe brought on former Attorney General John Ashcroft, the face of the Patriot Act, as its ethics chief. (Though it has to be noted that Ashcroft, gravely ill, bravely resisted an effort by the Bush White House to improperly extend a warrantless surveillance program. Respect.)
Representatives for USTC Holdings have yet to respond to requests for comment. We’ll update if and when they do.
There’s been a lot of talk for years about Blackwater’s effort to rebrand itself as a squeaky clean company. Hiring from AIG and KBR doesn’t exactly scream Good Corporate Citizen. It does, however, suggest that the company knows how to get what it wants from the government — with impunity. Please see the original here
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