Gordon MacDonald: Overseeing a Medium-Sized City
“The most difficult part of the job is prioritizing given the number of incidents that could occur,” says Gordon MacDonald, Senior Director, Corporate Security for Wells Fargo. “We have 265,000 employees, so ensuring their safety is like overseeing a medium-sized city that is spread across the globe. Our role is to ensure that our employees and customers are safe in all of our properties.”
In addition, says MacDonald, as a financial institution, Wells Fargo is subject to multiple regulatory requirements, which includes that all security equipment, devices or any endpoints that touch the corporate network are secure. Gathering intelligence is another area of focus, with data collected to mitigate the various threats that can occur within the financial community.
Wells Fargo & Company is an American multinational financial services company that was founded in 1852 and is headquartered in San Francisco, CA. The Corporate Security Department was formed in 1873. Wells Fargo provides banking, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,050 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 38 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 26 on the 2018 rankings of America’s largest corporations.
Before his current role, MacDonald was an FBI agent for 24 ½ years, focusing mainly on white-collar crime and fraud. Ten years ago, he accepted his current role as Senior Director of Corporate Security. “The most enjoyable part of my role is the varied types of security issues that we face every day,” he says. “There are ongoing changes in the security sector, mainly around technology, so it takes an extensive effort from our team to stay conversant with the various technological advances.”
His experience and knowledge has helped MacDonald to ensure that security at Wells Fargo is a valued commodity that provides the C-suite and the business units with a “broad-based knowledge of all security fundamentals, risk management and crisis management that the Corporate Security department brings to the table,” MacDonald says. He also knows that strong partnerships, particularly in law enforcement, are a key to solving crimes on Wells Fargo properties. “We are successful at recovering funds,” MacDonald notes. “Our resolution rate for criminal incidents like bank robberies or burglaries is very good and our recoveries are equally as high. It is still somewhat unexpected that so many crimes are occurring not only inside, but outside of our bank walls. Some criminal acts have evolved to where criminals will wait outside a bank and look for vulnerable customers or even security technicians to steal large amounts of money and commit a crime.”
Wells Fargo has a well-tenured team, according to MacDonald, which includes staff at two security response centers located in Arizona and North Carolina. Site Security Officers are responsible for security at an array of proprietary cash vaults and data centers. Security Agents are responsible for the investigation of any criminal incidents across the Wells Fargo portfolio, which includes retail and administrative properties. Wells Fargo also has an executive protection team that oversees security for Wells Fargo Executives and corporate events across the United States.
The Corporate Properties Group, which Corporate Security is part of in Wells Fargo, has helped establish a developing continuing education process for Corporate Security team members, where employees can further their professional growth and know what skill set or education certifications will help them in their security careers. “We view varied knowledge levels and security training as areas where we all need to maintain and expand our expertise,” he says. “And it will be readily apparent through examples what an employee needs to advance in any security area which obviously includes education and certifications. Wells Fargo wants to attract and retain multi-talented security professionals, in a currently very competitive market. And we know that our current employees enjoy the challenges and the support that our department
In his free time, MacDonald enjoys spending time with his family, which includes five grandchildren, many sports, hiking, bike riding and listening to music.
3. Mitigation Via Encrypted Security Devices