Fean joined the Diplomatic Service in 1975. His career has included appointments as High Commissioner to Malta (2002–06), Ambassador to Libya (2006–10), and Consul General to Jerusalem (de facto ambassador to the Occupied Palestinian Territories) since 2010.
He was appointed Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 2005.
Fean was ambassador to Libya during the 2009 release of Pan Am Flight 103 bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. In information released in the 2010 Wikileaks cables, he was attributed as saying that “they could have cut us off at the knees” in relation to likely Libyan government actions against UK interests in the country, should Megrahi die in prison in Scotland.
Views on recognition of Palestine
In December 2014 The New York Times published an opinion piece by Fean in which outlined what he believes are requirements for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He argues in the article that European countries such as Britain, Spain, France, Ireland as well as the European Parliament are working to promote coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians, and to that end are considering recognition of Palestine as "a contribution to a negotiated peace, not a substitute for it." 
In July 2010, he received an honorary degree from the University of Sheffield.
- "Sir Vincent Fean, KCVO Profile". Debrett’s. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- Hussain, Samrana (29 August 2008). "Burnley fan's big knight out forty years on". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "Career History : Sir Vincent Fean". British Consulate-General Jerusalem. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- Leigh, David (7 December 2010). "WikiLeaks cables: Lockerbie bomber freed after Gaddafi's 'thuggish' threats". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2011.
- "Vincent Fean 'Signs of Recognition' New York Times" https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/opinion/signs-of-recognition.html
- "Blades Chairman and former University Registrar to receive honorary degrees". University of Sheffield Press Release. 15 July 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
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