Fernando Tapias Stahelin served 41 years in the military, achieving all the military ranks all the way up to his appointment as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Colombian Armed Forces (1998-2002) under the presidency of Andres Pastrana. Subsequently, he served as ambassador of Colombia in the Dominican Republic (2002-2004), as well as Deputy Minister of Defense (2009-2010) under the presidency of Alvaro Uribe. Zehirut Group had the privilege to have him as senior advisor for defense and strategic security from its beginnings and later as CEO from 2011 to 2015.
General Tapias is considered one of the best generals to ever serve in the Colombian army. He is remembered as the one who conceived and initiated the military modernization and reorganization 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 and set the firsts steps to implement the Plan Colombia. Forming part of the negotiation and design teams of the Plan Colombia, General Tapias was fundamental in its development and in its implementation.
Throughout his career, Tapias received 53 military awards including the U.S. Medal of Merit, which he earned twice, and the French Legion of Honor. He addressed governments and organizations on issues relating to transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, money laundering, the restructuring of military forces and leadership among others.