2012 Security 500 Leader Profiles

Jeff ChisholmJeff Chisholm, Director of Enterprise Security & Preparedness, Deere & Company


Nothing Runs Like a Deere


“Recruiting and retainingthe right security personnel and having those individuals in the right locations are important to being prepared to deal with any level of crisis. Good people are the best trump card against bad situations,” says Jeff Chisholm, Director of Enterprise Security & Preparedness for Deere & Company.

“Our security people have to learn to fill a variety of roles throughout the organization,” Chisholm explains. “One of the first people visitors meet when they enter a John Deere site is security representatives. It is important that security is an ambassador to our brand and have a professional outward presence.”

As Director of Enterprise Security & Preparedness, his responsibilities include managing global security operations, strategic security planning and emergency preparedness. Chisholm is also the chairman of the company’s Corporate Incident Support Team and a member of the Compliance Committee chartered under the Center for Global Business Conduct.

At John Deere the focus on risk is to identify the potential, be best prepared to prevent an issue and ensure that the right personnel are in place to respond if necessary. “Commitment to developing the proper processes and posturing the right personnel to risk and security related incidents are key,” explains Chisholm.

As a result of this “right personnel” strategy, Chisholm is proud that some employees who began their careers in security with John Deere have moved to other functions within the company. “We have had staff members move to roles in marketing, supply management and IT. Bringing high caliber personnel into security, being dedicated to their development and then committing to allow them opportunities to grow within the organization has benefits,” he notes. “We are spending much more time with our management group and the HR staff developing career paths for security personnel so that we have a well-rounded talent pool for key security roles. Nurturing and retention of our high-potential candidates are important for success.”

Through its evolving security strategies and concentration on preparation for risk, the security at John Deere has its goals firmly fixed on the business. “As a leader, my main focus is aligned to those of the company’s objectives, which are to aspire at the midpoint of the cycle to achieve enterprise net sales of at least $50 billion (USD) and asset turns of 2.5 times by 2018, and to deliver operating margins of no less than 12 percent by 2014. These are impressive numbers and will require our security organization to optimize our effectiveness to support the growth of the company,” says Chisholm.

Security has provided support to John Deere as the company has grown its global business. For instance, he says, “We decided upon a global platform for access control. One system was deployed globally and the implementation of that project continues to be successful as we expand. What has emerged is a number of other uses for what was originally an access control system. At certain locations, the system is also being utilized for time and attendance processes which have created savings for the company,” explains Chisholm.

Measuring the value of security is a challenge, “This is an intangible figure. We would like to think that value could be measured through gains in efficiency and the accomplishments of the organization. I have always been a proponent of metric-based decision making. Our security team has and continues to work diligently on establishing a dash-board of metrics that would assist us to adjust and grow with the company,” explains Chisholm.

John Deere’s management has high expectations for Chisholm and his team. “We must have the proper people and processes in place to support the growth of the business. As security practitioners, we at times have a tendency to be overly protective of the organization. Our security team needs to ensure that we balance the duty to protect our assets and at the same time, support innovative growth in the organization. This growth in itself creates a variety of risks. We constantly have to evaluate and readjust. We are expected to determine exactly where we need to be on the continuum,” he says.

“Every CEO should know what his or her security group is capable of in response to risks and, conversely, every CEO should know what his or her group is not prepared to handle,” says Chisholm.

Chisholm thoroughly enjoys his contribution to the company. “I have had opportunities to see and experience things that the majority of people will never see. The single thing that I have enjoyed most is that I have had the latitude to work with a group of conscientious security professionals who share the same values that I do. I have also had the opportunity to work for a company that exemplifies and is dedicated to do the right thing every time.”

When not working Chisholm enjoys spending time at his home in Illinois and vacationing in Florida. He is also very proud of his sons. “I started my career with law enforcement and I am proud that my sons chose that same calling,” he says.

If he had not made the transition to a security professional, law enforcement would have been Chisholm’s entire career.


Security Scorecard

•           Revenue/Budget: $28,000,000,000

•           Security Budget: $7,000,000

•           Critical Issues:

            – Personnel Recruitment

            – Intellectual Property

            – Fraud


Security Mission

•           Business Continuity

•           Corporate Security

•           Disaster Recovery

•           Emergency Management/Crisis Management

•           Investigations

•           Physical Security/Facilities

•           Risk Management

•           Workforce/Executive/Personnel Protection

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