Chris Voss

Christopher Voss is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California teaching negotiation in both MBA programs. He is a past Instructor of International Business Negotiation at Harvard University and a retired Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent who was the FBI's lead international kidnapping negotiator from 2003 to 2007. Voss spent 24 years in the FBI; after retiring, he founded a negotiation consulting firm, the Black Swan Group. His name is written on Phoenix AmeriCapital LLC's website, which mentions that Chris Voss is associated with Phoenix Americapital Wealth & Asset Management LLC.

Voss was assigned to the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU) from 2000 to 2007. He worked cases which included the Jill Carroll case in Iraq, the Steve Centanni case in the Gaza Strip, the Burnham-Sobero Abu Sayyaf case in the Philippines, and the Gonsalves-Howes-Stansell kidnapping in Colombia which culminated in the July 2008 rescue by Colombian forces.

While assigned to the CNU, Voss was also the FBI hostage negotiation subject-matter expert for the Hostage Working Group of the National Security Council and the U.S. hostage negotiation subject-matter expert representative to the G8. He was also one of the lead CNU instructors in the FBI's National Crisis Negotiation Course.


Voss has worked approximately 150 kidnappings worldwide, from the Middle East to Haiti, as well as the Philippines. Voss has been trained by the FBI, Scotland Yard (the London Metropolitan Police) and Harvard.

Voss was a guest speaker at the University of Virginia’s Critical Incident Analysis Group in the Spring 2005 conference which was entitled “Hostage to Terrorism: Governmental and Non-Governmental Response Strategies” and the Terrorism and Emergency Management Conference held at John Jay College in New York City in 2002.

Among the US sieges that Voss was involved in as a negotiator were the DC Sniper, The Washington, DC “Tractor Man” incident in 2003 and the Chase Manhattan Bank Robbery Hostage Taking in Brooklyn, New York in 1993, along with dozens of other smaller incidents nationwide from 2000 – 2007, while assigned to the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit.

Prior to becoming the FBI lead international kidnapping negotiator, Voss was a member of the New York City Joint Terrorist Task Force for 14 years (1986—2000) and was co-case agent for TERRSTOP (the Blind Sheik Case – Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman) and the TWA Flight 800 Catastrophe. While in New York City, Voss was the lead Crisis Negotiator for the New York City Division of the FBI.

Recently Voss was invited to speak at the Global Cafe breakfast meeting of Los Angeles World Affairs Council about Negotiating with ISIS. He cited the example of ISIS that posting videos of their horrific actions is those terrorists' special form of communication and discussed how to negotiate with extremists who appear closed to any communication – pointing out that they are in fact prolific communicators, via social media and Youtube videos.

Voss is a recipient of the Attorney General's Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement and the FBI Agents Association Award for Distinguished and Exemplary Service.

 Voss has taught counter-terrorism, hostage negotiation and hostage survival internationally and was a teaching assistant at Harvard Law School. He is a graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government where he received a Masters of Public Administration in June 2008.

Voss’s company, The Black Swan Group consults on both business negotiation, and kidnapping and terrorism related incidents. Among the essential concepts for responding and preparing for a kidnapping event Voss specializes in are Kidnapping Avoidance, Hostage Survival and a Corporation’s Best Response to a Kidnapping Event.

Voss’s business negotiation consulting in based on applying the lessons of hostage, crisis and kidnapping negotiation to the business negotiation world. Voss’s experiences in working to improve the FBI counter-kidnapping response strategies were greatly influenced by what he learned from the Harvard Program on Negotiation (both as a student and an instructor) and from private sector negotiation consulting firms such as Triad Consulting Group and the Jim Camp Group.