Guest Speaker: Alan Bell
.updated 2020 Dec 14th
Disclaimer This is a page for students who were in a 3rd yr university international business course taught by Tim Richardson 2000-2015. Frequently, once or twice a term, Mr. Alan Bell was a guest speaker in that course. While this page exists with the consent of Mr. Bell, this is NOT an official bio of Alan Bell. 
For Bell's company, see

Mr. Bell was born in England became a member of the Royal Marine Commandos where he served for 10 years - then passed selection to the Special Air Service (SAS) and spent 12 years with this elite regiment as a paratrooper commando. He operated worldwide classified areas including combat in several wars. 

Bell was a member of the UK Counter Terrorist Special Projects Team in a multiple of roles which included assaulter, method of entry team and sniper roles. His combat experience includes the Falkland Islands, Ireland, Afghanistan and other classified areas. Additionally, he has provided training and operational assistance to CIA, FBI, RCMP, CSIS and other Intelligence Agencies worldwide.

Since having moved to Canada and establishing one of the elite international security services companies here, he has been frequently called upon to be an expert commentator on security related events, which has included him be regularly interviewed by the CBC, CTV, Global News + various national newspapers for stories on things such as 9/11, kidnappings, hostage events, Gulf War, etc.

Mr. Bell's specialty includes advising Canadian companies involved in international business, on preparing contingency planning, and risk and threat assessment for developing business, and operating in hostile regions.
Alan Bell's expertise was of interest to our class on international business management because more and more Canadian companies are operating in more dangerous areas of the world, and to do so successfully requires knowledge of the risks, and how to do a "threat assessment".

INTRODUCTION , There are several important reasons for having guest lecturers like Alan Bell.
  • Successful "International Business Management" is based on solving problems. 
  • If there were no problems, you wouldn't need managers. 
But because there are lots of problems, you need managers to analyze the problem, think of a solution, then supervise implementing a solution, and relevant contingency plans..

Part of being a successful Int' Business Manager is recognizing that risk and threat situations effect int'l business in many ways, and, these situations have to be dealt with, and "managed", or your company will be compromised and subsequently uncompetitive.

When you listen to Mr. Bells remarks, and when you are reading the related material at you should try to understand the 
  • range of risk and threat situations that challenge companies and individuals - and understand 
  • some of the ways to plan for, and deal with those situations.
AWB-MGTC44-2010Jan27-1926x941.jpg Bell with one of the MGTC44 classes at University of Toronto (UTSC) 
Bell on TV (Global News)

MGTC44 student Wilmer (in the Jan-Apr 2006 term) emailed me in June 2006 to say "thanks for bringing in Alan Bell".

Mr. Bell is often interviewed on TV for security and terrorism incidents and sometimes when students see him on TV they say "heh, that's the guy Richardson had come talk to our class - I guess he really is an expert"

Wilmer's email to the right is an example of such a "spotting".

Bell on TV (CBC)

CBC did a short documentary called "Shadow Company" which was about mercenaries, or, as they like to be called Contract Security Specialists. 

Alan Bell's company was featured in the documentary and AWB was also interviewed in a short segment that can still be seen on the CBC site. 

During the 1st week of October, 2005, Prof. Richardson was interviewed by journalist Jeremy Ferguson for a special report in the Travel section of The Globe & Mail for a story about Business Travel Security. 

The story ran in The Globe Oct 27th, part of the quotable quotes are listed below.

. Richardson explained that part of being a successful Int' Business Manager (especially after 911) is recognizing that risk and threat situations effect int'l business in many ways, and, these situations  have to be dealt with, and "managed", or your company will be compromised and subsequently uncompetitive.

The story ran in The Globe Oct 27th, part of the quotable quotes are listed below.

Ferguson, quoting Prof. Richardson

"International business consultant Tim Richardson, who lectures at the University of Toronto and Seneca College, specializes in security and risk analysis in hostile regions. "For enterprising companies, the easy places in the world have been maxed out," he says. "Now the real business potential is in places like South America and Central Africa. Canadians are extraordinarily active there, as mining and forestry experts, financiers, medical personnel and other specialists.

"Safety becomes a critical issue in maintaining a company's competitive edge. What-if scenarios and contingency plans make or break survival in a competitive climate. Right now, only a small number of companies in Canada are prepared, but as litigation increases, they'll have to have plans in place or be ready to be sued."

He [Richardson] says having contingency plans "mean decision-makers can perform sensibly under stress. They prevent a crisis from becoming a disaster. They ready companies to deal coolly with hurricanes, tsunamis, terrorists, thieves, criminals, random kidnappings, murders, assault -- the works. If the companies don't pony up on services, they won't get the talent they need to operate in these places. If they lose access to this talent, it's game over."

Ferguson, writing about his interview with Alan Bell

Former British commando Alan Bell, described by Mr. Richardson as "the guy who trained James Bond," is president of the Toronto-based Globe Risk Holdings International, which advises CBC and CTV, and was recently retained to recruit, train and manage Canada's first private security tactical armed response team for the Canadian nuclear power industry.

"In Ecuador," he [Bell] says, recalling a case, "one Canadian client ran into a kidnap and ransom situation. Two years earlier, it had requested a crisis management plan specifically including kidnapping. The majority of the board were unbelievers. But we went ahead and completed the plan, which focused on skillful negotiation. It worked because the company knew what to do instead of thrashing around in a panic."