John Karagounis - Look back and smile

John Karagounis - Managing Director & CEO, The CEO Circle

John Karagounis - Managing Director & CEO, The CEO Circle

John Karagounis

Look back and smile

John Karagounis is a passionate thought leader, celebrated author and keynote speaker, participating and engaging with some of the world’s brightest minds in hundreds of exclusive, confidential forums around the country.

He truly knows what is top of mind and what it takes to be a successful leader in today’s global marketplace.

John started his career in the financial services industry, winning numerous State and National awards. He eventually found his niche in private wealth management and held a number of senior executive roles in two of Australia’s leading financial institutions and in a Global Wealth Management business. During his twenty-year career in financial services, he held a number of board positions and was a true advocate for the industry.

His ability to connect and engage with people, his commitment and determination to help make a difference, led John to The CEO Circle, Australia’s leading exclusive peer group for business leaders. John purchased The CEO Circle in February 2008 and has never looked back.

As a high achieving visionary, continuously striving for personal and professional excellence, he has already left his mark on this exclusive organisation.

For the seventh year running, John is on the judging panel of The CEO Magazine’s 2018 Executive of the Year awards, Australia’s most prestigious business awards event, recognising the individual excellence of senior executives.

A dedicated supporter of numerous charities and causes throughout Australia and overseas, John takes great pride in continuing to support those most in need.

"Giving without remembering and without telling a soul and receiving without forgetting and forever being grateful"

Show Notes

His Story – John Karagounis

John Karagounis originally wanted to go into psychology, based on his curiosity and desire to learn about people. He never ended up studying it, but you could argue he ended up doing that anyway.

Rather, John studied economics at university for three months, before deciding it wasn’t for him and ultimately deferring his course. He went to the local Commonwealth Bank to work as a teller while he figured out what he wanted to do, and it turned out to be exactly that. He got promoted quickly up the ranks, worked relentlessly and finished off undergraduate and postgraduate studies in night school.

His passion drove him towards private banking, where he could build relationships and understand the needs and demands of his clients. He moved on to UBS, which he felt gave him a great experience and exposure to different styles of leadership and a fantastic client base of high net worth individuals. He then moved on to St George Private bank when he was tapped on the shoulder to take up a national leadership role, again providing him with access to industry leaders and wealthy clients.

He enjoyed a fruitful and engaging career in banking before finding himself at the crossroads – to take the next step he had to make the move to Sydney or overseas. To date he had thoroughly enjoyed building intimate relationships and the process of learning from other leaders – so when the opportunity to purchase The CEO Circle became available, John backed himself and took the plunge.

He recalls the transition out of the corporate lifestyle and the challenges that it posed. The Global Financial Crisis hit soon afterwards, which brought both hardship and opportunities to the business at a time when John leveraged his network and close relationships to launch his new venture.

He felt he always wanted to run his own business in some way and take the leap of faith at a point in his career. His drive for success, his yearn to learn from others and his genuine interest in different perspectives has built a formidable reputation for both John and The CEO Circle amongst many circles.

Advice for Others – John Karagounis

John feels it is important to not let your professional role define your personal purpose – it is always important to stay in touch with yourself.

In addition, finding the time to connect with others and develop your network is critical to finding new opportunities and being exposed to different perspectives.

Key Habits – John Karagounis

John believes it to be paramount to find time for ourselves amongst our busy schedules, whether it be exercise, meditation, reading, walking or anything that helps you find your fit.

Book Recommendations – John Karagounis

Why I Wrote This Book - For Greater Success

By John T Karagounis

On the back of his exposure and experience, John wrote a book called Why I Wrote This Book – For Greater Success, which delves into everything from legacy, happiness, work/life imbalance, physical and mental self-care and being present in the moment.

Quotes – John Karagounis

"Giving without remembering and without telling a soul and receiving without forgetting and forever being grateful"

Contacting John Karagounis

Visit John’s website at, the CEO Circle at or get in touch via his email on