Global Clients & Understanding Challenges: Q&A with Kevin Mands, International BD Director

Our first FIS team Q&A of 2024 is a catch-up with our International BD Director, Kevin — discussing international business and how FIS identify the best ways to support our clients, worldwide.

Kevin Mands, International BD Director at FIS Chemicals

Kevin Mands, FIS Chemicals International Business Development Director


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FIS:You have a key role with FIS as International Business Development Director — can you tell us about what your main focus areas are within the business?

Kevin: I very much see my role as all-encompassing. Firstly, as an international ambassador for the company, my foremost role is to seek to promote the FIS name and share our capabilities with clients around the globe. This can either be in existing markets or other regions where we were not previously present. Another key part is, of course, identifying new international business opportunities — this involves exploring international partnerships and engaging new clients to first understand their challenges then offer a range of region-tailored products and chemistries, specific to them.

Finally, a significant portion of my job also involves working with existing FIS clients to identify pinch points within their regional supply chain and existing product offering. Proposing either new or existing chemistry not only assists them, but in turn adds to our contract/product portfolio and increases revenue generating opportunities for the company. Thus far, my main regions of focus have centred on the global decision-making centre in Houston Texas, as well as the Middle East and Norway — however I’m also looking to travel to the Far East and Central Asia soon.


"FIS Chemicals is at the forefront of developing high-performing, greener chemistry and this strategy has seen both our international and domestic business continue to expand."



FIS: What was your career path prior to joining the FIS team?

KM: Previously working for an Aberdeen oilfield services company, I left the UK in 2003 and moved to the UAE. Living there for four years, I held numerous Regional Sales and Technical Management roles, covering the larger Middle East and North Africa region. Moving onto the Far East in 2007, I spent almost seven years in both Country and Area Management roles in Malaysia before becoming Regional Director in Singapore for a further six — leading multiple Sales, Projects and Manufacturing operations across the Asia-Pacific region. After that, I had short stints in Guyana and Ireland before joining FIS Chemicals in May 2022.


FIS: How has the business developed internationally in recent years?

KM: Whilst the larger international industry sector has yet to reach the pre-2015 downturn highs, the Middle East has consistently weathered the storm and offers particular opportunity, whilst other areas such as the Gulf of Mexico, Latin America and Africa are all very busy. In this upturn, focus has turned to localisation in many regions — with incentives to set up regional manufacturing and supply partnerships. This forms part of our strategy and much work has gone on around this.

Of course, much of our client decision-making takes place at a global level in Houston and we have seen customers turn to us to both reduce costs and enhance their standards of environmental compliance. FIS Chemicals is at the forefront of developing high-performing, greener chemistry and this strategy has seen both our international and domestic business continue to expand.

Kevin Mands with colleagues at FIS Chemicals HQ


"I have been very fortunate in which to have spent a significant part of my career living and working in many countries and regions, and this has helped me form both respect and friendship with many different people and nationalities around the world."



FIS: What are some of the key considerations and priorities when working with clients in different regions and territories?

KM: There are many things to consider when evaluating whether to work in certain countries, these are not limited to risk management, legal and regulatory compliance and potential language and communication barriers.

All that said, in the first instance a genuine understanding and appreciation of multiculturalism and deep respect for other cultures is extremely important — without that, opportunities simply won’t materialise.

I have been very fortunate in which to have spent a significant part of my career living and working in many countries and regions, and this has helped me form both respect and friendship with many different people and nationalities around the world, which makes travelling and doing business so much easier.



FIS: What aspects of FIS most impress new clients when you speak to them?

KM: As the industry becomes ever greener, our clients continue to be impressed not only by our greener chemistry but also our ESG and Net Zero credentials. As our customers are pushed by the oil majors to show environmental governance in their supply chain transactions, there is a genuine appreciation for FIS and our position at the forefront of these initiatives.

Separately, in many regions relationships form a significant part of collaboratively doing business and I believe being regularly face-to-face with our client base is an important part of our success. The fact that we take the time to visit our customers and really understand their challenges — thereby positioning ourselves to offer region-specific solutions — goes a long way.


FIS: 2024 is in full swing — what are the key objectives on the horizon for FIS' International BD?

KM: In short — more of the same! Our international business forms a significant part of the company’s growth and revenue targets, and we expect the international market to continue to expand.

Additionally, we have several new international companies looking for solutions, and work continues to develop region-specific offerings that meet their specific requirements. I’m also hoping to revisit the very busy Far East and Central Asia region this year to start identifying opportunities.


FIS: What do you enjoy doing when you're not working?

KM: I am a big fan of the famous blue half of Glasgow (which makes me a distinct minority in the FIS office, in terms of football supporting). I also enjoy rugby and playing golf. My handicap has the number 2 in it, although I refuse to confirm or deny if there is also another number before or after that...

As my job and life experiences suggest, I do enjoy travel most of all and, with our kids having long since flown the nest, I really appreciate visiting new countries and experiencing new cultures along with my wife Jane.


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