The Apprentice’s wizard
Mark Bouris, the host of The Apprentice Australia, is focused on family, health and leading ‘the good life’.
Mark Bouris the host of The Apprentice Australia, is a precise talker, almost laconic.
I have been trying to talk to him for over a week. Having given up, a call came through - not from his PA, but from Mark Bouris directly.
Mark Bouris, is one of Australia’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, but it is a descriptor he objects to regardless of being listed in the BRW 'Hall of Fame'.
“I hate rich lists, what is it about? ‘hey look at me I’m rich’, these lists are meaningless.”
“And you know what?” he adds, “It is a very non-Greek thing to do, it’s not right.”
Bouris never loses sight of his roots in working-class Punchbowl in Sydney, “I am a working class boy! I never set out to be wealthy, my goal was to be successful, to be the best at what I do, not to be rich.”
Mark Bouris is best known as the founder and chairman of Wizard Home Loans, a leading Australian non-bank mortgage lender founded in 1996, which was sold to GE Money in 2004 for $500 million. “For some people being wealthy is success, but to me success is doing the best you can, being at your best, not money.”
Bouris is not averse to fronting a TV camera, having done that successfully for his own ads as head of Wizard Home Loans, but he does not believe that The Apprentice Australia producers had that in mind when they approached him to host the show.
“They came to me and said ‘we want to do an Australian version of The Apprentice’ they wanted someone Australian, and you could not get someone more Australian than me,” says Bouris. He adds, as a matter of fact, “I come from a humble background, my dad came in the late 1940s and we were always a family of humble people, my father was from a village just outside Tripoli you can’t get more humble than that.”
The Apprentice Australia unlike its U.S. counterpart is not about aspiring yuppies trying to make it, it is about real people of diverse ages, who need a “fair go” Bouris emphasises.
“Australia is a cultural mix, that is the real Australia, nothing is scripted on the show. I love working out who the participants are, to see them strategise, to see what games they play” says Bouris.
Mark Bouris loves to work, underscoring that his success is built on hard work, “I love working, I believe in work, that is what I do, six days a week, so when filming The Apprentice it was tough running my business and filming, I was doing 16 hour days.”
Yet regardless of his ambition to be the best at what he does, there is a hierarchy of virtue which is more important to Bouris, “My core values are family, children and health, I want to lead ‘a good life’ that’s ‘the good life’”
A pillar of Bouris’ ‘good life’ means a grounding in Hellenism; “I am a Hellene, and so are my children.”
The 53-year-old father of four eschews the glitz of Sydney’s high-end social scene, preferring to spend time at his farm in Byron Bay, with his family or watching his beloved rugby league team.
Equally, the unpretentious Mark Bouris is dismissive of the blatant exploitation on Greek islands, “I dream of going to a Greek island to relax, but you know what? More than three days on an island and I want to get off... I hate the rip-offs.”
He knows the other Greece, the real one, “I love Athens, it is one of my favourite cities it is large, busy and sophisticated.”
The Sydney boy seems to love a good city. “New York, Delhi, Athens, great cities, they may be different but they are vibrant, alive, intense.”
He goes on to talk about his passion for life, his family and healthy living. When asked about Australia’s financial position in relation to the global financial crisis, Mark Bouris is sanguine. “We are ok, we have no sub prime problems here, we're a good economy.”
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