In Harrogate, we have plenty of things to be proud of, and it is always nice to celebrate some of the big successes our town has produced. One name you may or may not be aware of is Olivia ‘Liv’ Garfield, but you’ll certainly know some of the work she has done. She’s currently the CEO of Severn Trent plc, one of the UK’s most important water companies, and was previously chief executive of the Openreach division of BT – the division that looks after BT’s broadband infrastructure and services. She has also held a non-executive director level position at Tesco.
Liv Garfield may be no stranger to the pressures and fast pace of FTSE 100 live companies like BT and Tesco, but she is also no stranger to Harrogate, where she was born and raised – her family still run an engineering project management business based here.
Liv Garfield’s Life Before Becoming One of the UK’s Most Successful Women
Liv Garfield’s parents actually hailed from Liverpool, and her grandfather had the esteemed position of being a Goodison Park groundsman. Her parents had moved to Harrogate before she was born however, so Liv herself was born and brought up here in our great town! Her maiden name was Olivia Ruth Burgess, and she was born in 1975, on September the 10th.
Liv attended school in Birstwith, at what is now Belmont Grosvenor school – which was known as Birklands Belmont at the time. She then attended Bootham School in York, which is an independent school.
Despite her impressive academic talents, Liv Garfield’s early career dreams were not for the boardroom but the Blue Peter garden – she was a huge fan of the show and had aspirations of becoming a presenter! Nonetheless, she won a place at the prestigious all-female college of New Hall, Cambridge, where she studied her passion – foreign languages. She studied both German and French at university, before spending a year working in Belgium at the British consulate in Brussels.
Garfield’s High Profile Business Career
Liv started her career in earnest after her year with the consulate in Brussels, by taking a role at leading global consultancy Accenture. She worked in the communications division for six years, gaining vital experience in key areas like business strategy and management. With this behind her, she got a job running a sales team within BT in 2003, and worked her way up to become their Director of Strategy and Regulatory Affairs – a very important role within the telecommunications industry, where regulatory compliance is vital. She was then made chief exec of Openreach, and drove the £2.5 billion project to roll fibre optic broadband out to 66% of the UK under the BT Infinity banner. She has been CEO at Severn Trent since 2014, and earns a seven figure salary.
Liv Garfield is one of the best known female executives in the UK, and is hugely respected for her experience and management style. She is married with two sons, and regularly returns to Harrogate to visit.