A coffee break with Julian Keites, Kinect

Eleven helped Julian Keites find a new job with World Fuel Services (WFS) as Director of Price Risk Management back in 2009. In 2016, he made an internal move to Kinect, the energy consultancy arm of WFS, as Director of Global Fuel Risk Management. We caught up with Julian to find out the secrets of his long, successful career with one business. 

Julian Keites
Director - Energy Price Risk and Sustainability at World Kinect Energy Services (a World Fuel Services Company)

Blending geology and trading with the physical side 

“Working at WFS has given me exposure to the physical market, which has been a massive bonus. My previous experience included exploration geology and financial trading in derivatives, and blending this with the physical side has proved hugely interesting. I'm passionate about the ever-changing oil and energy markets and have recently been assisting a national flag airline, rewriting and co-ordinating its fuel policy, which has been extremely rewarding – a real highlight of my career. I have enjoyed taking ownership of the project and imparting advice to help put a strategic policy in place. It has involved me drawing on 20 years’ experience to solve the company’s problems and has been a significant and exciting challenge.” 

Julian added: “I’ve had a wonderful career so far and I’m delighted to have been part of the journey at both of these WFS affiliates, where business has been turned around from mediocrity to something rather special.” 

Take snippets from lots of different people 

It’s a journey that he’s shared with others, many of whom have proved pivotal: “Over the years I have been lucky enough to have lots of different mentors and have learned a lot from individuals both inside and outside the business,” said Julian. “I think the secret is to take snippets from lots of different people. Probably the best advice I have had is that the simple act of ‘doing’ is the key to success (blended with whom you know, acumen and a little bit of luck!)” 

For those just starting out in the industry, Julian also recommends learning Python, AI/ML and DLT technology. “The industry has changed, and we’re moving towards automated trading programmes for process efficiency and transparency. We're in the 4th Revolution - the current digital age.” 

Don’t be afraid of showing you want to learn 

Learning from senior managers is also important, and Julian believes the best way to achieve this is through healthy open dialogue: “I would always encourage people to speak up. Don’t be afraid of showing your ignorance and wanting to learn.” 

With exciting times ahead Julian has mixed views on the immediate future of the transport industry: “We are facing a period of change and uncertainty,” he commented. “The marine and aviation industries are struggling with higher fuel cost in a cleaner world; it’s difficult for many and the future isn’t clear. Prices are changing in the market, fuel costs are going up, and it’s putting pressure on these market segments. Many of them need consultancy and expertise to help them navigate these headwinds.” 

However, it’s not all doom and gloom as Julian is keen to point out: “We’re working towards cleaner fuels and hopefully less pollution. The industry is also getting smarter, with safer trading venues and improved technology and processes, which is an extremely positive step.” 

We’d love to hear from other members of the industry. Get in touch with us on +44 (0)1565 654 830 or hello@elevenassociates.com or via the contact us form.

Eleven Recruitment