When Blackwater’s name became too well known, particularly in a negative way, they changed their name to Xe. Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater quickly distanced himself from anything negative and promptly moved to the Middle East. The name change from Xe to Academi is the company’s effort to further distance themselves from Blackwater’s past and Erik Prince after he sold all interest in Xe a year ago.

The Arlington-based company announced it will no longer be known as Xe Services and is now called Academi. The name is inspired by Plato’s Academy in ancient Greece and is designed to connote elite, highly disciplined warriors who are thinkers as well as fighters.

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.

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.

Since the US military is officially pulling out of Iraq and the US is relying on contractors for security, it is likely Academi will find its way back into the country.

When the company was known as Blackwater, Iraqi citizens feared them because they operated without impunity. They could do and say whatever they wanted until people started to speak out

Make no mistake, Academi are a company of assassins hired by corporations to do their bidding. They are sociopaths hiding behind a pseudo-legal company. They are not a legitimate company. They are mercenaries. They can change their name a hundred times, but their basic mission will remain the same; hired killers.