CEO Hostage Jeffrey Ake
Jeff Ake, 47, of LaPorte, Ind., president and CEO of Equipment Express, whose products include machines that fill water bottles, was kidnapped on Monday, April 11, 2005, by Iraqi insurgents during his second business trip to Iraq in two years.
Mr. Ake was abducted by eight hooded men who drove up in two cars to a water treatment plant construction site near Taji, north of Baghdad. The kidnappers overran the light security at the site, went right to him and took him.
A videotape aired on Wednesday, April 13, 2005, by Al-Jazeera television showed Mr. Ake being held at gunpoint by at least three assailants. The Indiana man was holding what appeared to be a photo and a passport. In the video, Al-Jazeera said, Ake asked the U.S. government to withdraw from Iraq and save his life.
The father of four was in Iraq to help with postwar reconstruction by installing water bottling equipment.
John Robb at Global Guerrillas sees a new threat to businessmen:
Frankly, a CEO is an excellent strategic target. As a rule of thumb, I would consider all CEOs that reside/work within a nation-state at war with non-state guerrillas at risk. Under almost all measures of this new method of warfare, CEOs are better targets than government or military officials.
Remember, in this flat world, it is easy to pull up a CEO's name, address, credit history, and even a satellite photo of his/her home from a Cyber Cafe in Peshawar.
Jeffrey Ake [wikipedia.org]
US hostage in Iraq makes TV plea [bbc, Apr. 13, 2005]
Hostage Video: American Jeffrey Ake urges US to Leave Iraq [The Jawa Report, Apr. 13, 2005]
American Captive Traveled World [CBS, Apr. 14, 2005]
PIERCING THE CORPORATE VEIL [Global Guerrillas, Apr. 22, 2005]