High Flyers: Graeme in the fast lane to bolster EV charging infrastructure
In the High Flyer spotlight this week is Graeme Thompson, chief financial officer at Weev
What was your first job?
I started off my career at EY so I’ve always had a financial background. During that period, I worked in the corporate finance department so dealing with a lot of mergers and acquisitions activity and also advised on the floatation of Mackies.
What qualifications do you have?
I am a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA).
What do you attribute your success to?
Without a doubt, there was a very strong sense of the value of hard work and graft instilled in me at a young age from my father who was a dairy farmer. Anybody from a farming background knows it takes incredible time and effort to make it successful, and dairy farming is on another level. Myself and my brother helped out, so we had no choice but to learn hard work fast.
How would you describe yourself to someone who had never met you?
The first I’d say is I’m competitive. I like to get things done and to see results. As a numbers man, I have my eye on the detail, specifically the financials. If you are going into a deal, making a change in your business or investing in a new fleet, it has to make financial sense.
Who do you look up to in business?
I have always admired Henry Ford and the absolutely incredible impact that he made on the motor industry by bringing affordable cars to the masses. I actually think we’re now at a similar point in the evolution of the electric vehicle (EV) with the one million sales mark recently eclipsed in the UK. At Weev, we’re facilitating that growth by vastly improving the charging infrastructure across the public, in workplaces and residential settings across Northern Ireland with a £20 million roll-out of 1,500 charging points.
How do you get the best out of the people who work for you?
I think it’s about having a clear plan that ensures everyone understands the goal and how we can perform to our optimum to get there.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
There’s no secret that our EV charging network has been lagging behind other parts of the UK and Ireland for years due to a lack of investment in what will be an increasingly important element of public infrastructure. The private sector is ready, willing and able to address this which is exactly what Weev is doing.
What website or app could you not do without?
Of course, I would have to say the My Weev App and for anyone out and about trying to locate their nearest EV charger, I’m sure they’d agree.
What was the last book you read?
I tend to listen to Audible rather than read books. I love comedy so Kevin Bridges has been a go to recently – plus I was lucky enough to be in the audience for his gig at the SSE Arena in October.
What car do you drive?
It’s the car I’m going to drive that has me excited at the moment, the all-electric Polestar 2 is due in the next few weeks. Making the switch to EV has been an easy decision, especially as I spend most days talking to businesses about the no-brainer that it is, and is an essential part of any businesses’ drive to net zero. For example, benefit-in-kind rates are set at only 2 per cent until 2025 as the government seeks to encourage the move toward reducing carbon emissions.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
I have two great sporting passions – golf, and Liverpool Football Club. I try to get over to Anfield a few times a year. There have been some truly memorable games but none more so than the Champions League quarter final against Juventus in 2005. We won 2-1 on the road to glory in Istanbul and I can forever say “I was there”.