Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, a leader of HYDRA, had a son named Werner von Strucker, but Wolfgang kept his professional life separate from his family life and only allowed Werner to know a few people in the organization. To further keep the separation, Werner used the alias "Alexander Braun" so that there would be no overt connection. Wolfgang died, and left a substantial sum of money to Werner, who chose to spend it on partying and women. Grant Ward appointed himself the "Director" of HYDRA and planned to change how the organization was run. He decided that only strong, proven people could be members as opposed to "old money". His first action was to have his second Kebo find people that fit his criteria. Six months later, Ward and Kebo had Carmine reveal the location of Werner to them. Werner was aboard a yacht, partying. Though Kebo suggested that there were easier ways to finance the organization, Ward had plans for the younger von Strucker past money.
"It's a good thing I dropped by." "Why's that?" "I'm an exterminator."
Grant Ward told Kebo to get the financial information of Werner von Strucker by any means necessary; Kebo began torturing the young man. Ultimately, Strucker grew tired of the method and began retaliating, voicing that since he used an alias, Kebo must not know his heritage. Ward entered and revealed that he did know who Werner was, the son of the late Wolfgang von Strucker, and that Werner passed his test by standing up for himself. Ward made Strucker a member of HYDRA and assigned him to tail Andrew Garner, a professor at Culver University and the ex-husband of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Melinda May. Ward also sought from the younger von Strucker the secret of the location of his family's vault, said to hold HYDRA's greatest weapon; however, he did not find it, the Monolith and the true origin of HYDRA, until after he had a confrontation with Gideon Malick and his assassins.