Michael Chertoff

Michael Chertoff

Co-Founder and Executive Chairman

Michael Chertoff is Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of the Chertoff Group.

While Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009, Michael Chertoff led the country in blocking would-be terrorists from crossing our borders or implementing their plans if they were already in the country. He transformed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) into an effective response organization in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Some of his greatest successes did not make headlines, because the important news was what did not happen.

At Chertoff Group, Mr. Chertoff provides high-level strategic counsel to corporate and government leaders on a broad range of security issues, from risk identification and prevention to preparedness, response, and recovery. “Risk management has become the CEO’s concern,” he says. “We help our clients develop comprehensive strategies to manage risk without building barriers that get in the way of carrying on their business.”

Before leading the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Chertoff served as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Earlier, during more than a decade as a federal prosecutor, he investigated and prosecuted cases of political corruption, organized crime, corporate fraud, and terrorism – including the investigation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Mr. Chertoff graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College (1975) and Harvard Law School (1978). From 1979-1980 he served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Jr. In addition to his role at Chertoff Group, Mr. Chertoff is also a senior counsel at Covington & Burling LLP, and a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations practice group. He serves as an advisor to the American Bar Association’s Artificial Intelligence Task Force, as co-chair of the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, on the board of trustees of the Freedom House, and as a director on the board of The Atlantic Council.

He is the author of Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cyber Security in the Digital Age.


  • Risk identification, analysis, and mitigation
  • Crisis management – prevention, preparation, response, and recovery
  • Strategic counsel on global security solutions

Previous Government Service

  • Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2005 – 2009)
  • Federal Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (2003 – 2005)
  • Assistant Attorney General of the United States, Criminal Division (2001 – 2003)

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