BUSINESS

Another name change for former Blackwater firm

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"I think it was confusing," Wright said of the Xe name. "It didn't have any reason behind it."

Wright, who came to Academi from government contractor KBR, also said he has promised customers that he'll be taking a lower profile and that they won't be seeing negative newspaper headlines about Academi.

One of his first hires after becoming CEO in June was a newly created position of compliance officer, whose job is to ensure the company's work is done ethically and legally.

One aspect of Blackwater's legacy that Wright hopes to preserve and promote: its record of conducting more than 60,000 protective security missions worldwide in the past seven years without having a single person under its protection being lost or critically injured.

Wright said the company can maintain that level of protection even as it sheds the gung-ho culture of its past. The company continues to provide security or training in more than half a dozen countries around the world, most notably in Afghanistan. And it wants to get back into Iraq, where Wright said the business opportunities are promising.

"I have every confidence we'll be operating in Iraq again," Wright said, arguing that the Iraqi and the U.S. governments will recognize his company's culture change.

As for the name change, it did not receive universal approval from experts on marketing and brands. William Lozito, chief branding officer with Strategic Name Development in Minneapolis, called the name change hard to fathom.

While the Academi name -which the company spells in all capital letters in its press release - may be appropriate for the company's training business, he said it sounds out of place for the security business because it conveys a notion that its security workers are in some of training academy themselves.

"Blackwater has some bad associations. But just change the name once, not twice," he said.

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