Bye-bye Pinkerton and Burns, hello Securitas

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Friday, August 1, 2003

CHICAGO–Security guards who once wore the Burns and Pinkerton security patch and logo on their uniform began sporting the Securitas Security Services name July 1, the culmination of two years of work to adopt their Swedish parent company’s name.

The change for the new name for both Burns International and Pinkerton ends an era for the well-known names, each having been in business for more than 100 years. Pinkerton is perhaps most famous for its pursuit of Wild West outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Both companies became part of Securitas during a one-year period, with Securitas buying Pinkerton in 1999 followed by Burns in 2000.

Along with the Securitas name change affecting the company’s 120,000 security guards in the U.S., it also impacts the company’s systems integration business. That business operates from 30 branches across the country with annual sales of $55 million.

Jack Mallon, a security industry analyst, said it was sad to see the two names disappear. Mallon, managing director of Mallon Capital, is not convinced the name change is the right move and expects other U.S. guard companies to market themselves as American-based security companies.

“Although it’s simple and may be more efficient to have one name worldwide, in this post 9/11 environment, people are more susceptible to national pride and are more concerned particularly in the area of security have a native, home-based company.”

But Don Walker, chairman of Securitas Security Services U.S.A. said the decision to adopt the Securitas name was not taken lightly. The plan was announced internally two years ago in an effort to bring not just Burns and Pinkerton’s under a single name, but also the likes of American Protective Services, First Security Services, Doyle Security Services, Smith Security Services and APG, companies Securitas bought between 1999 and 2000.

“It made sense to unite everyone under one brand,” said Walker.

In Europe, Securitas has one of the most recognized names in security. By adopting the Securitas name in the United States, Walker expects the company’s’ name recognition will increase here, as well.

“If we want to be an industry leader, we need to have the name recognition and we need to have as many people as possible see the security officer in the Securitas uniform,” he said.