A principled, strategic and commercial leader with over 30 years’ international business and project experience working with global players to turnaround, transform and grow ambitious businesses.

A principled, strategic and commercial leader with over 30 years’ international business and project experience working with global players to turnaround, transform and grow ambitious businesses.

With a sharp legal mind forged through an early career as a barrister, Graham has achieved outstanding results by balancing clear analysis, strategic planning and focused implementation — often in challenging environments and business-not-as-usual situations.

Curriculum Vitae
Downloadable summary, in pdf format.


“In every job I have done I see my role as making it possible, making it happen and making a difference.”

Graham Olver

Graham is a team player and leader. He builds and reshapes teams, projects and organisations and recognises the need to deliver both short-term results and long-term outcomes with an emphasis on people, collective purpose and building a collaborative organisational culture.

Working on pioneering projects in the infrastructure, international development and professional services space, he understands the nature and challenges of larger organisations and their supply chains. He brings commercial experience, positive energy and creative thinking to design, problem solving and project delivery in complex political, commercial and contractual environments.

Graham has contributed to and been responsible for over 75 complex projects and programmes in over 50 countries, ranging from $1 million to $7 billion.

Leadership style

Equally at home working inside the organisation or representing it externally, Graham’s leadership style is visible, creative and energetic. He is both challenging and compassionate, creating an inclusive culture focused on delivering clearly defined, shared goals. 

Reflections on a diverse career

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The essentials to establish a new venture

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What does it take to lead turnarounds, transformation and growth?

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“Graham demonstrates an impressive mixture of analysis, powers of persuasion and negotiating skills.”

Peter O’Kane, Executive Chairman of Strategy International

Learn more about Graham’s experience leading change for global players…


Graham has extensive hands-on experience bidding, negotiating, contracting and implementing three core components of growth: organic, joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions.

  • As the GEC ALSTHOM investment director and consortium lead negotiator of a pioneering PPP project (Arlanda Express airport to Stockholm railway), Graham’s experience and expertise delivered the first Swedish BOT and the first ever project-financed train operating company.
  • At RWE Thames Water, Graham was responsible for key international expansion opportunities and was a member of the leadership team that acquired American Water to add to Thames Water’s then presence in 44 countries with a full range of concessions, BOT, capital projects and specialist consulting services. During Graham’s tenure, RWE Thames Water grew from 23 million to 72 million customers and was the third largest water company in the world.


With considerable experience of PLC and major project turnarounds, Graham has the ability to stabilise, transform and grow businesses including special situations, insolvency and projects in distress.

He is able to quickly analyse a situation, develop a clear strategy, gain control and transform business performance to deliver change that improves short-term performance and delivers long-term sustainable outcomes.

  • Graham re-energised WYG PLC, a collapsed international business with debts of £130 million, transforming it into one of the fastest growing multi-disciplinary consultancies and increasing the share price by 150%.
  • He led the construction, operating and finance negotiations to deliver the successful first BOT inward infrastructure investment deal in China, worth £700 million. This pioneering greenfield project was awarded PF Deal of the Year two years in succession.


Graham’s commercial and operational expertise enables him to lead and manage across the whole project lifecycle, balancing important detail with big-picture vision and delivering significant shareholder and investment returns.

  • As Commercial & Operations Director at SKANSKA Infrastructure Development, Graham managed a portfolio which achieved a market valuation of SEK 8.5 billion.
  • When RWE wished to disengage from the water market and its multi-utility strategy, Graham leveraged his strong project relationships to develop and procure a formal offer to acquire all of RWE Thames Water international assets through a joint venture to exit for $1.5 billion.

Key roles

Chief Operating Officer — WYG Plc 2009–2016

Graham joined the Board and acted as Group Services Director, Group Company Secretary. He promptly established a new actionable strategy, led on essential restructuring including organisational redesign and implemented new processes and operating frameworks.

He then relinquished these roles to concentrate fully on his role as Chief Operating Officer as the Group transitioned from insolvency, through turnaround and re-capitalisation, into growth.

Chairman and Non-Executive Director — British Expertise 2012–2017

As a multi-term Chairman and Non-Executive, Graham supported the new CEO to transition the company into a merger with the D Group, part of Strategy International. This eliminated the prospect of insolvency and created a strong industry voice, robust financial structure and an opportunity to engage more directly with Governments, NGOs and Major Industry Companies and investors.

Commercial and Operations Director — Skanska Infrastructure Development 2005–2008

Graham was a key member of the executive team, charged with commercial, programme and project management operations and asset management.

To build a cohesive business, he introduced highly effective governance processes with a strong emphasis on capability development including programme and project management. These actions delivered progressive investment returns from a mixed portfolio of projects in different stages of maturity.

Graham orchestrated bidding, operations, project life-cycle, risk management and strategic value realisation. In addition, he worked on strategic corporate options for Skanska to re-cycle capital through optimising the portfolio and selling individual assets.

Group Commercial Director — RWE Thames Water 2000–2004

Graham was responsible for the top 10 business and project opportunities, and building international capacity, with direct engagement for the most significant commercial and contract negotiations.

He created a commercially orientated culture including the development of a capability programme, merger and acquisition processes, modelling and pricing, due diligence and integration. As a member of RWE Group Development Team, Graham helped forge a solid platform for RWE’s strategic international growth.

Legal and Contracts Director — GEC ALSTHOM 1990–2000

Graham progressed from a purely legal role to running an international legal department, becoming a major Projects and Divisional director and top 100 employee and was the go-to person to lead and close-out negotiations for UK and International BOT and project finance projects in power and rail.

He worked successfully to bridge relationships between divisions and joint venture partners in a new world of alternative and independent utility procurement, which eventually became known as Public Private Partnerships. Graham successfully orchestrated and negotiated lasting workable solutions in a space that had little precedent and developed new commercial, investment and operational practices.

Key projects

Orchestrating the project finance for China’s first inward infrastructure investment.

While working for GEC ALSTHOM as Legal and Contracts Director, Graham led the joint venture team with EDF and orchestrated $517 million of finance for the wholly-foreign owned project.

A truly ground-breaking venture that shaped the market, establishing the legal foundations for future public private partnership (PPP) deals in China, approved at State Council level, and voted PF Deal of the Year two years in succession.

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Bidding, financing and delivering a landmark public private partnership.

The Arlanda Express provided the opportunity for private sector participation in the national infrastructure and to attract and develop new financing options at a time when Government budgets were under pressure.

Due to increased passenger capacity at Stockholm Airport and environmental considerations from reduced congestion, the rail link was an attractive option.

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Skanska Infrastructure Development: Creating value beyond construction

Skanska, the third biggest construction company in the world, had established a number of build operate transfer (BOT) and public private partnership projects (PPP/P3) in the UK and internationally, primarily to ensure the related construction contracts.

These new platform-style PPP businesses (the Uber and AirBnB models of their day) required Skanska to win highly complex and competitive bids, make new investments, procure project financings, manage different risks and enter into decades-long service commitments.

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Transforming a failing business into a leading global consultancy player.

In 2009, White Young Green had £132m of debt and liabilities and no realistic prospect of servicing interest, let alone repaying monies owed. Many employees were leaving the company, not wishing to have White Young Green on their CVs — it was felt that it might become the Enron of professional services.

A new three-person executive was formed, with Graham joining as PLC Director (he later moved on to become COO), which was tasked with turning around this failing business. 

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  • Judgement and insight
  • Forward thinking
  • Coaching and leadership
  • Capital raisings
  • Project finance
  • Asset portfolio management
  • Major bids and proposals
  • Situation analysis
  • Complex problem solving
  • Creative solutions
  • Governance
  • Performance management
  • Negotiations
  • Dispute resolution
  • Corporate restructuring
  • Organisation design
  • Partnering and collaboration
  • Cultural change
  • Strategic brand positioning


  • Energy
  • Transport
  • Water
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • International development
  • Professional services


  • UK
  • Europe
  • Scandinavia
  • Asia
  • Russia
  • North America
  • South America
  • Middle East
  • Africa

Education and thought-leadership


Graham is passionate about sharing his knowledge, wisdom and expertise. He is a regular speaker at industry-related events and lectures for a number of world-class universities, where he openly shares his practical experience of PPP projects. 

University of Oxford

Graham is a regular guest lecturer for the Global Challenges in Transport course which is part of the Oxford Leadership Programme at Kellogg College and delivered in collaboration with the Saïd Business School. The programme is for cross-sector decision makers and introduces approaches to transport investments, from mega projects to small-scale infrastructure developments, covering theories, tools and techniques for delivery.

School of Construction Management and Engineering, University of Reading

Regular presenter on the Future of Engineering, and lecturer at the MSc International Construction week.

“The feedback was terrific, you really are a very good lecturer. The students particularly liked to listen to someone who has actually been involved in PPP projects; there is no substitute for practical experience.” – Professor Roger Flanagan 

Leeds University

Graham is the international expert for the University’s new online MSc Engineering Management, designed to attract professional engineers embarking on managerial careers. The programme targets developing countries such as India and China.

“Above all, I enjoy the challenge and complexity”

Graham Olver

Beyond the project…

Graham is deeply motivated by the opportunity to work with people, ventures and organisations delivering projects and services that create equitable and shared value. Shared value in the community; shared value across its eco-system and shared value amongst its stakeholder group.

Taking to the streets in support of Poppy Day

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With a long history of working alongside service personnel in difficult conditions, it was natural for WYG to start supporting The Royal British Legion’s fundraising efforts on the 100th anniversary…

Chaired the production of the UK flagship Global Opportunities publication.

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Lord Livingstone launched the new UK flagship publication at the British Expertise International Awards. Developed in conjunction with British Expertise and UKTI, it showcases the experience, knowledge and expertise of…

Co-author of Taking the long view

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A feature article in the “celebrating one hundred years of ACE” publication, Graham looks at how the consultancy industry has changed over the last 100 years. The cost and time…

WYG pledges to support Community Action Nepal

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Speaking at the British Expertise Networking Event at the House of Lords, Graham Olver announces WYG’s commitment to contribute funds and professional skills to support the reconstruction effort in Nepal…
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Beyond work

Graham lives happily with his wife Louise, assorted dogs and children in Warwickshire. He is a passionate painter, a voracious reader and an unaccomplished blues guitar player.

He loves supporting and encouraging his five children as they grow and develop their individual talents, team skills and walk their own path.