We sat down with Fredrick Fuest, the President of the International division. Fredrick oversees Active’s worldwide operations and its offices in 14 countries. He discussed his time at Active International and the nuances between the different markets.
Q: What did you do before you joined Active International?
Before entering the world of corporate trade, I was with Hoffman-LaRoche Pharmaceuticals for 23 years. My most notable roles there were President of Medi-Physics, a nuclear medicine subsidiary and President and Chairman of Roche Professional Service Centers, a home healthcare division. The transition to corporate trade was completely natural, as you can tell! But I never looked back and I’m here almost 18 years.
Q: Since you joined the company, what changes have you seen?
I came on board initially to grow the international side of the business, which was still in its infancy at the time. I worked on that for around three years, then moved on to be company-wide COO. After a few years there I came back to international and became resident in our Düsseldorf office for eight years. I just came back to the U.S. in January, though I still spend a significant amount of time traveling to our various offices. The most dramatic difference between when I joined and today is how expected it is to offer global services if you want to be considered a meaningful business partner.
Q: Have you found any differences in how corporate trade is used from country to country?
Yes, dramatically. We’ve learned to adapt to the unique cultures and markets that we participate in and how we sell things. In certain markets, like Germany, very precise interactions are the norm, whereas in others, like Mexico, there’s an expectation of more flexibility overall. In China, our newest office, corporate trade is a totally new concept and we are able to present it to a ‘blank slate.’ In other countries, like Australia, we have to manage the legacy that other providers have left – both good and bad.
What’s very clear is that regardless of marketplace differences, corporate trade offers a real business solution for multinational companies as well as local market companies. And unlike some other business models, the flexibility of corporate trade makes it highly adaptable.