Geopolitical Risk



Former Acting Director of the CIA to Lead Geopolitical Risk Practice at Beacon Global Strategies

Beacon Global Strategies is pleased to announce that former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell will become the Global Chairman of the firm’s expanded geopolitical risk practice. Through this practice, Michael Morell, along with Beacon’s Managing Directors, Michael AllenJeremy Bash, and Andrew Shapiro and with the support of Beacon’s board and advisors, will advise clients on regional and global political trends as well as developments in technology and security, finance and trade, and energy and natural resources.

Founded in 2013, Beacon Global Strategies is a bipartisan strategic advisory firm that provides clients an in-depth understanding of national security decision making to advance objectives and solve problems in Washington and abroad. The Beacon team brings experience informed by their years of service in the White House, State Department, Defense Department, CIA, Justice Department, on Capitol Hill, and in the private sector.

With over 30 years of experience at the CIA, Mr. Morell is one of the country’s most renowned national security professionals, most recently serving as Deputy Director of the CIA, and twice as its Acting Director. Prior to that, Mr. Morell was the CIA’s Chief Analyst, responsible for leading all analysis and analysts at the Agency. Mr. Morell has served as a Senior Counselor to the firm since 2013.

“I am excited to expand my work with Beacon and to bring together an incredible group of advisors to think through global trends and events,” Mr. Morell said. “During my tenure at the CIA, first as an analyst and through my time as acting director, I had the opportunity to analyze some of the world’s most challenging problems. I now look forward to bringing the same rigor and methodology to bear for an interesting group of clients whose operations span the globe.”

As Deputy Director of the CIA from May 2010 until August 2013, Mr. Morell oversaw the Agency’s analytic and collection operations, represented the Agency at the White House and on Capitol Hill, and maintained the CIA’s relationships with intelligence services and foreign leaders. He was one of the leaders in the search for Osama bin Laden and participated in the deliberations that led to the raid that killed bin Laden in May 2011.

Among the Beacon advisors that Mr. Morell will work with in his new role are Frances Townsend, former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Admiral Sandy Winnefeld, Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Along with the rest of the Beacon board and advisors, they bring extensive public and private sector experience, with expertise spanning the globe and unparalleled leadership experience.

Michael Morell is a strategic thinker and problem solver and his service to the United States is admirable,” Townsend said. “I have tremendous respect for Michael and I am looking forward to working closely with him as part of Beacon’s geopolitical risk practice.”

“As the world heats up and there seems to be a crisis around every corner, C-Suite level executives and corporate boards essentially need their own State Departments to keep up with and be pro-active about geopolitical threats to their business,” Admiral Winnefeld said. “Morell, myself and the rest of my colleagues on the Beacon board are well positioned and well informed by a diverse set of backgrounds to help clients navigate through a complex geopolitical environment.”

Under Mr. Morell’s leadership, this new practice will allow Beacon to provide senior executive and board-level insights and service to clients across all industries on the geopolitical landscape. Beacon’s existing clients include defense and aerospace firms, technology companies, healthcare providers, global traders, financial institutions, and energy companies.

“This marks a new chapter in our firm’s growth and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Jeremy Bash, founder and Managing Director at Beacon, “our clients have found Michael’s perspective and voice to be particularly impactful, and we look forward to being able to expand this offering.”

In addition to Frances Townsend and Admiral Winnefeld, the following advisors are also part of Beacon’s geopolitical risk practice: Derek CholletFormer U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs; Ambassador Eric EdelmanFormer Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and Ambassador to Turkey; Jamie FlyFormer Counselor for Foreign and National Security Affairs to Senator Marco RubioJeff KupferFormer Acting Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer at the U.S. Department of Energy; David SheddFormer Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; Ambassador Kristen SilverbergFormer U.S. Ambassador to the European Union; Julianne SmithFormer Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President; Admiral James Stavridis, Former Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander of U.S. Southern Command; and Michael VickersFormer Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.

About Michael Morell

Mr. Morell is one of the country’s most renowned national security professionals, most recently serving as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and twice as its Acting Director.

In his over thirty years at the Agency, he played a central role in the United States’ fight against terrorism, its initiatives to halt the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and its efforts to respond to trends that are altering the international landscape—including the Arab Spring, the rise of China, and the cyber threat.

As Deputy Director from May 2010 until August 2013, he oversaw the Agency’s analytic and collection operations, represented the Agency at the White House and on Capitol Hill, and maintained the CIA’s relationships with intelligence services and foreign leaders. He was one of the leaders in the search for Osama bin Laden and participated in the deliberations that led to the raid that killed bin Laden in May 2011.

Mr. Morell served as Acting Director longer than anyone in the history of the CIA, most recently for four months before the appointment of current CIA Director John Brennan in March 2013. He served as a member of the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee.

Mr. Morell started his career at the CIA in 1980. He worked on East Asia for 14 years, holding a number of jobs in analysis and management. In 1999, Mr. Morell became the Director of the Office of Asian Pacific and Latin American Analysis. He also served as President George W. Bush’s intelligence briefer and as the Executive Assistant to CIA Director George J. Tenet.

In July 2006, Mr. Morell was named the Executive Director of the CIA, overseeing the administration of the Agency. In this role, he worked to strengthen the CIA’s leadership development program and established a cost-savings program for the Agency’s numerous support elements. In 2008, Mr. Morell became the Director for Intelligence at the Agency, leading the CIA’s large analytic effort. In this assignment, he strengthened the quality of CIA analysis and enhanced professional development opportunities for analysts. He served in this role until he was appointed Deputy Director in May 2010.

Mr. Morell received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Akron and a M.A. in Economics from Georgetown University. He serves today as a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Throughout his career, Mr. Morell has received a number of awards. These include the Presidential Rank Award, the CIA’s Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the Department of Defense Service Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the National Intelligence Reform Medal, the Intelligence Community Seal Medallion, and four CIA Director’s Awards.

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