Public Affairs & Government Relations

An Interview with Newly Promoted SMD Andrés Gómez

Based in Bogotá, Colombia, Andrés Gómez is a newly promoted Senior Managing Director in FTI’s Strategic Communications segment, where he leads the Public Affairs, Corporate Communications, and Crisis Management practices for Latin America.  At FTI, Andrés has served in many roles requiring the planning, development, and execution of communications strategies for companies in a variety of industries, including technology, health, finance, education, and mass consumption.

Andrés is also an active university professor and lecturer, as well as a board member of several organizations and a mentor for entrepreneurs. Prior to FTI, he was a former journalist and communications adviser for local government.

In this interview, Andrés reflects on his 20 years in business consulting and how he sees his team moving forward under his leadership.

Tell us how you came to join FTI.

It’s a good story actually! I was part of a Colombian firm called Gravitas, which was  bought by the British company FD (Financial Dynamics), Then, a couple of months later, FTI bought by FD. So in less than 6 months, I went through three iterations of business cards and three employers.

It was a smart move by FTI because it’s so critical for global firms to have a presence in Latin America. Colombia is a great hub for three reasons. First, we’re in the northernmost part of South America, near Central America, but also bordering the Andean region. Second, we’re what I refer to as “glocal,” both global and local,. Most of my colleagues have either worked at American companies or studied in the U.S.. so we are Columbians who really understand American idiosyncrasies. Lastly, Latin America is still very much an emerging market with a lot of opportunities, but also a lot of risks—a great combination for a company like FTI.

 

When you first started at FTI, what were you mainly doing?

When I left the media and journalism world, I worked for the government and then to Gravitas to do crisis management which is what I started out doing at FTI, too. I had a good mix of the necessary characteristics because being a journalist allowed me to understand how the media and public opinion worked while my experience with the government gave me a clearer perspective on how things really get done.

 

What size is the team that you lead in Bogota now?

The Bogota office itself has 70 people, of which 32 are in Strategic Communications. The rest are in Forensic Litigation and Corporate Finance. That said, we work with clients throughout Latin America, particularly in Colombia, but also in Panama, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, and Honduras. It’s a really great hub for FTI in Latam. We also work closely with our colleagues in DC and Mexico City.

 

Tell us a bit about your clients.

We have a really good mix of interesting clients, spanning some of the most popular apps across Latin America, and global companies like Uber, who we’re helping surmount struggles vis-à -vis the Colombian government. We represent the biggest financial firms, too, including banks and large banking consortiums. Of course, we also count tech giants like Google on our roster, one of our long-term clients of seven years. FTI’s Colombia office was one of the first offices to engage with Google and we’re very proud of that fact.

 

Now that you’ve been elevated to a Senior Managing Director, does your focus change at all?

Absolutely. My role now is to make the Bogota office a full-service outpost, with all three of our local segments working together to help our clients. I’m tasked with thinking more strategically about how to help my team execute more cross-segment work and expand our footprint here in Latin America to become a vibrant hub for the company.  I now have the opportunity to raise the awareness of the FTI team globally so they understand that the office here in Colombia isn’t just excellent for strategic communications, but that we can really serve any needs they have in Latin America. We can serve FTI and our clients in an American way with a Latino twist.

 

What kind of new clients is your team focused on bringing in?

We would really love to acquire more clients in the medical, infrastructure, biological, and agricultural sectors. There’s huge opportunity there. Also, we want to continue working with big credit card companies like Mastercard, but assist with the specific challenges they have in Latin America; we’d love to deepen our focus there. All in all, we’d love to have a conversation with any client or potential client who has an interest in Latin America  because—as Latinos who work for a global firm—we can really understand their needs and help them navigate the way things are done in Latin America.

 

Are you ready for this challenge?

Yes, I am not only ready, but excited for it! I love running marathons and have run almost eight full marathons in the last few years. This new role feels like an extension of that. The type of work we do, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And I’m ready to just keep running!

 

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