Graham Wylie, Founder of TSG
Graham was one of the original founders of The Sage Group Plc (“Sage”) – he programmed the original Sage Accounting software whilst still at Newcastle University studying for a joint honours degree in Computer Science and Statistics.
He founded Sage in 1981 after leaving University with three other colleagues and the business was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1989. Following flotation Graham became Managing Director of Sage (UK) and a Group Director of The Sage Group Plc which now embarked on international expansion.
Under Graham’s leadership, Sage (UK) became a market leader in the accounts and payroll software market with almost 1 in 3 of all VAT registered UK businesses using a Sage product by 2003.
Graham “retired” from Sage in 2003 and at the time The Sage Group Plc employed 6,000 people, had 3,000,000 customers and was a huge financial success with revenues of £560m, profits of £151m and a market capitalisation of £2.5b.
Graham didn’t rest on his laurels after retirement but invested in a new IT business called Technology Services Group (TSG), several commercial properties, U.S. based IT companies and purchased Close House in Northumberland.
As a result of the acquisition of nearly 30 IT resellers in the UK, TSG now provides IT services and support to thousands of businesses throughout the UK and has grown to a turnover of nearly £40m and employs over 400 people in 11 offices around the UK.
In 2004 Graham purchased the Close House estate from Newcastle University and has since developed into one of the top 100 golf resorts in the UK & Ireland. The new development was opened in 2011 by the then World No.1 golfer, Lee Westwood, and Lee has remained as Close House’s attached Tour Professional and has named both courses after himself such was the quality of the golf courses.
Close House has the only PGA Academy in the North of England and hosted the PGA Seniors championship and the EuroPro tour in 2015.
In 2012, Graham embarked on a brand new venture called Speedflex. This is an exercise machine and concept that can be used by anyone – young or old, fit or unfit, male or female – and helps improve the cardiovascular system and fitness of everyone. The intention is to create Speedflex centres throughout the UK but, in time, also Europe as Graham holds the exclusive licence for all of these territories.
In his spare time, Graham enjoys horse-racing and owns a large string of thoroughbred racehorses and has had notable success in a short period of time winning prestigious races at Cheltenham, Aintree, Punchestown and Royal Ascot as well as various many other racecourses throughout the UK and Ireland. Some of his most famous racehorses are Inglis Drever, Arcalis, No Refuge, Tidal Bay, Boston Bob, On His Own and Nichols Canyon.
Graham is married with four children and two grandchildren. In 2009 his wife Andrea gave birth to twins but one of them had a serious heart defect. Kiera has had open heart surgery three times in the space of her first two years and Graham is indebted to the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman hospital for saving his daughter’s life. He is now a patron of CHUF, the charity to raise money for the hospital, and has raised several millions of pounds over the recent years to help fund the building of an accommodation facility for parents of children going through surgery as well as updating much of the equipment used by the children’s heart unit.
Graham’s contribution to the North East region has been acknowledged by the awards of honorary doctorates at both Newcastle and Northumbria University as well as being honoured by the Queen with a CBE.