Bryan FortBryan Fort, Director, Corporate Security, McCormick & Company, Inc.


Spicing up Security


“Our industry justdeveloped out of nowhere, not part of any business discipline but rather as a adjunct to existing business functions. In another generation we will have a new group of security leaders steeped in the security profession, educated and certified specifically for this role versus law enforcement or military professionals who historically migrated over post retirement,” says Bryan Fort, CPP, Director, Corporate Security for McCormick & Company, Inc.

Fort has held the Director role for 120 days, after his predecessor, Bill Ramsey, retired after 24 years at McCormick. Ramsey wrote “Goal Based Security” which is trademarked by Security, McCormick & Company, Inc. “Our roadmap to move security forward is both a continuation of current programs and an evolution to new ones,” explains Fort.

Corporate security at the enterprise level is to protect and enable business for this $3.7 billion company that makes about half of all spices and flavorings worldwide and just opened its first retail store. “Certainly investigations, physical security and workforce protection are core elements of our mission. But the unique part of our role is the companion to food safety which is food defense,” shares Fort. “We have a robust supply chain security program.” Food safety is the unintentional contamination and food defense is intentional contamination of food ingredients or finished products.

Fort approaches risk and security from two vectors including compliance and being embedded in business processes. “We have invested in the Customs Trade Partnership against Terrorism (CTPAT), the Canadian Partners in Protection (PIP) and were recently authorized in the UK and anticipate being authorized in France to join the Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) in Europe programs. And we are regulated by the FDA and USDA,” says Fort. “This provides a benchmark audit that we are applying best practices and have a secure supply chain. By meeting these standards our customers know McCormick is compliant.”  

The leaders at McCormick understand the value of engaging security early in their business processes to reduce risk. “We try to monetize and understand enterprise risk when we receive a security risk either to address vulnerability or investigate an event. Through this exercise, we are able to show security is a business enabler with a positive bottom line impact. We work to identify solutions that help the business succeed,” notes Fort.

Fort is active with the ASIS Food Defenseand Agriculture Security Council, and serves on the CSO Advisory Board of the CSO Roundtable,where peers are very helpful in discussing industry. “When a food related event occurs, the first question is whether its cause was food safety or food defense. Everyone in this sector must work collaboratively with the food safety side to reach the right conclusion and take appropriate action,” he says.

McCormick is highly proactive by extending their “Goal Based Security” program and supply chain best practices to their business partners through certification programs and business intelligence gathering. “An example is the recent Ivory Coast Presidential election. Our intel showed increased instability in the region as the election approached. We not only used that information to ensure workforce protection, but shared it with our partners, in this case spice buyers, to make commodity purchases while product was still available and prior to potential price increases,” explains Fort.

“The maturing of security means getting the right information to the right people at the right time to provide actionable information that adds value to the business. What information to send to whom and when are the critical challenges to focus on. We are building a proactive program to ensure successful outcomes as much as possible. We do not want to simply put band-aids on the wound of a one off security event, rather we need to elevate the business discussion of security risk to become part of the overall enterprise risk platform,” explains Fort.

To do so, Security is building a measurementprogram that will benchmark allsuppliers and McCormick’s own operating units. It will publish corporate security standards on both physical security and around programs, practices and training. The program will apply matrices to execute the program and an auditor will review them and the implementation of standards. “We will use third party penetration testing and publish a scorecard to address any areas that require strengthening,” explains Fort.

“Our CEO expects us to identify emergingrisks and protect the brand. Quality hasalways been the linchpin of our operationsand avoiding security risk is a critical way for us to sustain that,” shares Fort. Every CEO should understand risk, business continuity and security. As the next generation of business leaders evolves this will be a part of their education and they will have a stronger understanding of the function and its value.”

When not spicing up security at McCormick, Fort is an avid worldwide traveler. He also spends as much time as he can with his two-year old granddaughter, Suhaila. 

If Fort were not a CSO, he would own and operate a fine cigar store where all the worlds problems would get solved.


Security Scorecard

•           Revenue/Budget: $3,700,000,000

•           Security Budget: $23,000,000

•           Critical Issues:

            – Global Expansion of the Enterprise

            – The “Unknown Unknown”

            – Corporate Security Growth Management



Security Mission

•           Asset Protection/Loss Prevention

•           Brand/Product Protection

•           Corporate Security

•           Intellectual Property

•           Investigations

•           Physical Security/Facilities

•           Supply Chain/Vendor

•           Workforce/Executive/Personnel Protection