AFTER more than 30 years in financial services and wealth management, Karl Morris admits his profile has never been higher than right now.
“Even though I’ve had a number of public positions, I’ve had a very private life,” Mr Morris, father-of five, told a menALIVE Father’s Day breakfast in Brisbane.
“This changed recently when I became chairman of the Brisbane Broncos (National Rugby League club).
“Recently The Courier-Mail, which I’m sure you all read – I don’t, even though they own sixty-nine per cent of the Broncos – voted me the sixth most powerful person in Queensland.
“When I mentioned this to my wife (Louise) she said ‘Well, how could that possibly be – you are not even the sixth most powerful person at home’.”
Self-effacing Mr Morris, despite his hectic life as executive chairman of Ord Minnett and chairman of QSuper and the Broncos, is a man who strives to centre his life on family.
During a Father’s Day breakfast address he spoke about the strength of family, and particularly the values he tried to instil as a father to three sons Tom, Angus and Isaac, who also attended the event at Brisbane’s Tattersall’s Club.
“I was born to parents who love me. I was lucky to also be born into a Catholic family and I hope to be a cradle-to-grave Catholic,” Mr Morris said.
“The great thing about being a Catholic is that it has defined and regulated my faith. It’s made the boundaries easier for me.”
He said hard work had often defined his business career – a career in which he described decisions based on calculated risk that had made a lot of money, and lost a lot at times.
Mr Morris said he counted former Australian rugby captain John Eales as one of his good mates, despite a friendly observation the former Wallaby made about his career in the world of finance and his investment philosophy.
He said Mr Eales told him during a recent overseas skiing trip: “You’re too dumb to be scared”.
“I’m hoping he didn’t mean it in the way that he said it, but I actually think he did,” Mr Morris said.
He said he liked the role of board chairman because he could control ethics, the mood and workflow of an organisation.
“I’ve been called too tough, I’ve been called arrogant now and again, I get called a lot of things, but I can’t control that – but I’ve never put myself in a position to be embarrassed about what I’ve done particularly in the professional world,” Mr Morris said.
“No one’s life is a straight line. My Catholicism has given me direction and it is obviously very important to me.”
Mr Morris said involvement in the Church had allowed him an opportunity to give back “in many, many ways”.
“A good society looks after its vulnerable, at the beginning and the end of life,” he said, referring to the foundation opposing euthanasia he set up some years ago.
His broad-ranging Church contribution has also included positions on many Catholic boards and through donations.
He and his wife Louise were initial donors to the Mary MacKillop Brisbane Catholic School Access Fund that provides relief for families and allows a Catholic education to students who would otherwise miss out.
The fund was set up in 2012 through the Archdiocese of Brisbane’s Catholic Foundation.
“The only thing I’m trying to achieve is to be a better person and be as good a character as I can to my sons,” Mr Morris said.
“Good character is to be praised more than outstanding talent.
“You need three things to be happy.
“Something meaningful to do, someone to love and something to believe in.”