General Fernando Tapias Stahelin served 41 years in the army, achieving all military ranks until he was appointed General of the Colombian Armed Forces (1998-2002) under the presidency of Andrés Pastrana. Later, he served as Colombian Ambassador to the Dominican Republic (2002-2004) and Vice Minister of Defense (2009-2010) under the presidency of Álvaro Uribe. The Zehirut Group was privileged to have him as senior advisor for strategic defense and security from its inception and then as CEO from 2011 to 2015.
General Tapias is considered one of the most influential generals in the Colombian army for his role leading the transformation and modernization of the Colombian Armed Forces. This reengineering of the military forces was instrumental in strengthening the relationship between the governments of Colombia and the United States. General Tapias was part of the negotiation and design teams of Plan Colombia; under his leadership, the military component of Plan Colombia was structured with an initial aid of Thirteen Hundred Million dollars (USD 1,300 Million).
The General was a lecturer on Armed Forces Restructuring at the Center for Strategic Studies of the United States Defense University and Strategies for Security and Defense in National and International forums, advised governments and organizations on issues related to Crime Transnational, drug trafficking, money laundering, restructuring of military forces and leadership, among others.
Throughout his military career, General Tapias received 53 military decorations, including La Cruz de Boyacá from Colombia and twice the Medal of Merit from the United States, the French Legion of Honor, the Cross to the Merit of Spain, and other decorations from Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina, and Chile.