Memorial service set for 'architect of modern security industry'
I was on the phone with Jerry Cordasco, EVP of Ops at G4S' Boston-based video monitoring and data center the other day discussing a story I'm working on about video monitoring standards. Shooting the breeze with Jerry got me to wondering what was going on at G4S lately, so I decided to check their site. Of course, G4S is a mighty big animal (the biggest according to some, though not the biggest according to others...) with somewhere north of 580,000 employees in over 110 countries, so I was looking around their site for a while. One point of interest I came across was a peripheral site dedicated as a memorial to JÃ¸rgen Philip-SÃ¸rensen, founder of Group 4 Falck--one of G4S' parent companies, along with Securicor. SÃ¸rensen was born Sept. 23, 1938 and died of complications from cancer on Jan. 18, 2010. He was 71. The memorial site also links to a very informative obit from the Times Online (UK) about the life and times of this formative figure in the world of security. From the article:
JÃ¸rgen Philip-SÃ¸rensen earned the sobriquet 'the architect of the modern security industry' after he built up Group 4 into the worldâ€™s largest security firm, with more than half a million staff. Philip-SÃ¸rensen was a larger than life character who, through force of personality, expanded the company from a hilltop base in the Cotswolds into 110 countries. He was not afraid to court controversy, such as when Group 4 became the first private security company in the UK to win contracts for transporting prisoners, a development that was fiercely opposed by those who believed such services should remain in the public sector. And in his quest for tighter regulation that would make it easier to distinguish between the standards of his well-established operation and those of an industry awash with with cowboy operators and even criminals who set up as security companies in order to commit robbery, he lobbied the British Government hard, and ultimately effectively, for legislation.This guy was a real pioneer and a hard worker, from the sound of the Times obit. I like the sound of the work ethic and the fearlessness inherent in lines like, "JÃ¸rgen, known to his friends as Philip, did not prosper at school and left when he and the headmaster 'agreed not to waste each otherâ€™s time.' He went to work as a guard for his fatherâ€™s company in Sweden." The article also tells how SÃ¸rensen was sent to another country by his father to open a new branch of his father's security guard company.
Unable to speak French or Flemish, Philip-SÃ¸rensen got his first break when a factory owner in Brussels agreed to hire his new security company to protect his premises on condition that it would start the service immediately. Philip-SÃ¸rensen agreed, even though it was New Yearâ€™s Eve. That night the owner paid a surprise visit and was delighted to find a security officer dressed in a boiler suit shovelling coal into the furnace As the guard turned round he recognised him immediately: it was the salesman who had signed the contract. At this point Philip-SÃ¸rensen had only one employee, another salesman. The plan was to recruit and train officers as they won business. As a result he had to sell the service by day and work as a security guard at night until they could earn enough to employ some more staff. Today the Belgian company has more than 5,200 employees.A memorial service for SÃ¸rensen will take place on Friday 26 February at Worcester Cathedral, Worcester, UK WR1 2LA.