WHO WE ARE

Step inside The Circle

Who We Are2018-03-25T09:11:06+00:00

Meet an exclusive, invitation only Circle of CEOs, Managing Directors, and Business Champions from Australia’s leading businesses.

Our members power and lead industry, provide jobs and make economies tick. They are drawn mainly from the private sector, with some public sector representation, and include leading entrepreneurs and young inspirational thought leaders. They are the best and brightest in their fields.

Confidential and discreet, The CEO Circle is dedicated to helping members achieve success in all aspects of life.

John Karagounis
John KaragounisManaging Director, CEO

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

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 forum for business leaders. John purchased The CEO Circle® on the eve of the global financial crisis. He courageously took over operations in February 2008 during some of the most turbulent times we have ever seen. He has never looked back.

John is also a passionate supporter of numerous charities and causes throughout Australia and overseas, taking great pride in continuing to support those most in need.

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

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

Circle Group Chairs

Chairs of Circle groups are all senior leaders in business, known for achieving excellence in their fields, who hold numerous directorships and board positions. They possess an intimate knowledge of the challenges facing leaders of industry and are selected to lead The Circles because their incredible experience lends itself to expert guidance and support.

Mr Michael Bargholz
Mr Michael BargholzCEO Circle Group Chair
After nearly fifteen years in technical investment Michael followed his passion to work with people rather than portfolios and switched to business leadership in 1997. In the last twenty years Michael has held four leadership roles, each with unique challenges: MD of AXA New Zealand Investment Management; CEO of AllianceBernstein Investment Management Australia; MD of Fidelity Investments in Australia and most recently CEO of BT Investment Management Australia.
Ms Fay Barker
Ms Fay BarkerCEO Circle Group Chair
Fay retired as Managing Director of a group of companies which she commenced as a sole trader in 1984. These companies were Townsville Welding Supplies operating in Townsville, Mackay and Mt. Isa, Independent Welding Supplies operating in Mackay, Cairns and Brisbane, and Linkwell International Pty Ltd with offices in Thailand and Indonesia.
Mr David Botta
Mr David BottaCEO Circle Group Chair
David has a business career spanning 35 years in Australia, Europe, Asia and New Zealand. He has worked for a variety of industries across the retail sector. More recently, David has worked in a variety of roles focussed on the retail and wholesale industries spanning fashion, footwear, airport, sporting and online retailing across the disciplines of operations, marketing, product and sourcing.
Mr John Churchill
Mr John ChurchillCEO Circle Group Chair
John has extensive experience serving on the boards of a diverse range of publicly listed, private and charitable enterprises. John Churchill currently works as Strategic Counsel working closely with Boards, Chief Executives and senior management of significant private and public companies to provide strategic guidance and advocacy in the areas of governance, problem solving, corporate advisory work, restructuring, capital raisings, private equity negotiations, management buy outs, the management and selection of legal resources on significant projects.
Mr Peter Day
Mr Peter DayCEO Circle Group Chair
After completing his MBA at Monash University, Peter joined Comalco holding positions in business analysis, financial reporting, management accounting, and Vice President – Strategic Analysis and Planning Services. He then went on to co-lead a successful IPO of one of its subsidiary, Commonwealth Aluminium Corporation, in the USA and spent two years there. On his return he has held a number of positions including Deputy Chairman of ASIC, CFO at Bonlace and CFO at Amcor Limited where he was responsible for Amcor’s global financial operations. After announcing his retirement from full time executive duties in 2007, he subsequently assumed a number of non-executive director appointments and not for profit and public interest activities.
Mr Philippe Etienne
Mr Philippe EtienneCEO Circle Group Chair
Philippe is an independent non-executive director of Transpacific Industries Group, Lynas Corporation and Sedgman limited. He was formerly Managing Director and CEO of Innovia Security, the UK/Australia joint venture commercialising polymer banknote technology across the world. Philippe holds a BSc in Physiology and Pharmacology, Post Graduate qualifications in Marketing and an MBA. He attended the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School in 2007.
Mr Malcolm Irving AM
Mr Malcolm Irving AMCEO Circle Group Chair
With a background in accounting and finance, Malcolm Irving is now a non-Executive Director of a number of listed and non-listed entities. Having been a Merchant Banker for over twenty years, culminating in being Chief Executive of CIBC Australia Limited from 1978 to 1990. Upon retirement, Malcolm became a non-Executive Director including Caltex Australia Limited and Telstra Corporation Limited.
Ms Elizabeth Johnstone
Ms Elizabeth JohnstoneCEO & Future Circle Group Chair
Elizabeth is a professional company director with experience in various sectors including health, agribusiness, financial services and resources.
She also serves as a senior strategic consultant to Global Legal firm DLA Piper, now the largest legal firm in the world. She has mentored many business and professional emerging leaders and has regularly written and spoken on matters related to corporate performance, risk and control systems, reputation corporate law and governance.
Mr Charles Macek
Mr Charles MacekCEO Circle Group Chair
Charles has been a professional director since 2001. After graduating with an economics degree, his executive career was spent in financial services in various roles, but principally in asset management. His economics training and ability to cope with ambiguity, was the cornerstone of Charles’ success in financial services. In his career as a non-executive director, Charles has been involved in both the audit committee and remuneration committee of two top 10 Australian public companies.
Mr Bruce McDonald
Mr Bruce McDonaldFuture Circle Group Chair
Bruce McDonald has extensive experience as a business executive, primarily in the automotive industry in Australia and overseas, as well as senior leadership responsibility in the training and education, and building sectors. Over the past five years, he has applied his experience as a successful entrepreneur, presenter, mentor and valued Non-Executive Director.
Ms Rebecca McGrath
Ms Rebecca McGrathCEO Circle Group Chair
Rebecca McGrath is an internationally experienced business professional. Rebecca is currently a Non-Executive Director with four ASX listed companies: OZ Minerals Ltd, Incitec Pivot Ltd, CSR Ltd and Goodman Group. In addition, she is a member of the Advisory Council for JP Morgan in Australia.
Mr Andrew Reitzer
Mr Andrew ReitzerCEO Circle Group Chair
Andrew retired from his position as Chief Executive Officer, Metcash Group of Companies in 2013 and during the last 15 years under his leadership, Metcash emerged as a highly successful and competitive company with compounded annual growth over the last five years of 13% in sales and 18% in profits. He currently holds a number of NED board positions.
Mr Robert Trenberth AM
Mr Robert Trenberth AMCEO Circle Group Chair
Robert Trenberth now serves as Chairman and Director of a number of companies and not-for-profit organisations. Robert’s business career included consulting with McKinsey & Company, followed by senior executive appointments with Carlton & United Breweries Limited and McPherson’s Limited before being appointed CEO of Ajax McPherson’s Limited, the international manufacturing group listed in Australia and New Zealand. In 1991, he was appointed Deputy Secretary of the Federal Department of Industry Science & Technology, returning to the private sector in 1996 as a non-executive director and Principal of Ernst & Young.
Mr Ian Vaughan
Mr Ian VaughanCEO Circle Group Chair
Ian retired in 2001, after 37 years with Ford Motor Company, including 9 years as an Executive Director on the Board. His final position was senior Vice-President, in charge of Engineering & Design, managing all Australian car design programmes, and Ford Australia’s contribution to Ford’s global R & D. Since retiring from the Ford Motor Company, Ian has been an active director of several private companies in various sectors of manufacturing, engineering, extractive industry and marketing.