Full Bio on Christopher Philip Koch.
Born in Ceylon (later Sri Lanka) in 1950, the fourth child and only son, Chris grew up with four mothers (his mother and his three much older sisters), who all thought the sun shone when he awoke, and as the only son, his father of course, thought the same. He could do no wrong. They were a well-off middle-class family and the servants in the house called Chris “Little Master”. He was loved and doted upon and, his sisters will tell you, as a four-year-old he would thoroughly entertain all visitors to the house. At the age of seven he took over the drum kit of the drummer at his sister’s wedding. No-one had taught him how to drum, he’d had no lessons - he just knew how. Later in life, in the early 70’s, he would become the fill-in drummer for a few unplanned gigs with the band called Max Merit & The Meteors. Chris attended St Thomas’ College in Colombo and like most other young boys in Sri Lanka, played Cricket. His father would tell people, “Chris will play test cricket for Sri Lanka one day”. He didn’t know at the time how prophetic this statement would be. The cook at their home had a young son who had a job - to be Chris’ playmate and they played Cricket together. Chris says, “I batted, and he bowled & fielded. It mattered not that he occasionally got me out. I continued to bat, and he continued to bowl. It was my bat and ball!”
As an eleven-year-old, in 1961, Chris was informed by his father that they were moving to Australia, and that there were many more opportunities for him there, Chris thought, wow, that’ll be good, I’ll have two or three bowlers! Unfortunately, the currency exchange was not taken into account and they moved into a small home in West Footscray – with no servants, or bowlers! His mother had to learn how to cook, his father had to get a job as a Surveyors Assistant (from managing over 3000 workers in Sri Lanka) as his qualifications were not recognised in Australia. It was a much harder life in Australia than in Sri Lanka. They made ends meet and sent Chris to Melbourne High School. One of the most academically successful schools in Melbourne. Chris did moderately well at Melbourne High. He was not an Academically gifted student, however he was extremely popular and very social. He will tell you that he and Lindsay Fox shared a notorious Melbourne High record. As Lindsay is a little older than Chris, they weren’t there during the same period, but they each failed fourth form twice meaning they had to repeat the year to get through. Apparently, by the time they finished high school, both he and Lindsay were old enough to have their own car space in the school car park! Chris did his last year at Melbourne High in 1968.
In 1969 Chris went to Caulfield Tech where he studied a Diploma of Arts and Design. He says that this was the class for him because the percentage of females to males was enticing. While at Tech he gained the cleaning contract which kept him financial as he completed his diploma. He then went on to get a job with Schering AG Pharmaceuticals as a medical rep. He has many funny stories about his work in this industry and how he sold his way to the top of the sales tree. He was cheeky, funny, engaging and resilient – a charming and successful combination. Especially when combined with his genuine caring and empathy for people. In the early 70’s he was poached into the Insurance Industry where he did equally as well and improved his style and sales figures working with AMP and then GRE. This period of his life is also full of very funny and engaging stories.
In the late 70’s when he was around 29, Chris was asked to speak at the Institute of Administration at The University of NSW. This was his first keynote address. He was asked to speak because the speaker who’d been engaged couldn’t make it. His address was so well received that the delegates asked him to provide consulting advice to them. Chris estimates that there were 30 people in the audience and he eventually did some consulting work with all of them. Some of these consulting engagements went over a period of years. This formed the basis for his speaking and consulting business.
He consulted to many businesses over the next 20 years and at a lot of them he would present his findings to the Board or the executive team and it was these entertaining and engaging presentations that would eventually find him being sought-after as a professional public speaker. In the early 90’s he was at his peak and by 1995 he was one of the most highly sought-after public speakers in Australia and rated in the top 5. Chris was travelling the world to speak. Also, during this time, he shared in the ownership of the racehorse Naturalism with four others. Naturalism was considered as one of the world’s best and provided Chris with some astounding successes and thrilling memories.
In 1996 Chris was engaged as the motivator for the Sri Lankan Cricket team. His father’s prophetic words were coming true. Although he didn’t exactly play for the team, he motivated them in the early 90’s. They went on to beat Australia in the 1996 World Cup Final. Against all odds it was said, as they were most definitely the under dogs.
Around that same time, he was introduced into the high risk/high yield international investment banking programs. As an avid risk taker with a high level of interest in finance and banking, he saw this as a very exciting opportunity. This sensational venture turned very sour. Things over the ensuing six years went horribly wrong as he found himself deeply embroiled in the murky world of secret banking deals, financial turmoil, scams and unfulfilled promises. An ugly expose on Channel 7 and a raid on his Gold Coast home by ASIC and the AFP resulted in all his consulting and speaking engagements being cancelled and forced a need to go outside Australia to find work. 2001 to 2006 was mightily challenging especially in the face (& then wake) of 9/11 in the USA and the long lead up to the GFC which finally erupted in 2008.
It was 2006 in Auckland NZ. The NZSI (New Zealand Sales Institute) had been launched 18 months previously and was gaining some momentum. Chris arrived at work one day, to be confronted by two detectives who checked his ID and placed him under arrest. In December 2006 he was extradited to Australia into a cacophony of charges from ASIC. It was horribly confusing. Nothing made sense anymore. He felt guilty about the fact that people had lost money, but he knew in his heart that he had done nothing wrong. Three years it took for ASIC to get the charges to court and in June 2010 he was found guilty of all 22 charges. The judge sentenced him to 13 years and 2 months as a head sentence for a total of $992,000. There was shock in the court room. The prosecution and defense teams both felt this sentence was manifestly excessive. After an appeal and the quashing of one ASIC charge his head sentence was recalculated to 9 years and 10 months with a non-parole period of 7 years and 6 months. During his time in prison the best thing that happened for Chris was that he studied Appellant Law enabling him to help a lot of the inmates with some of their legal issues. On a personal level he had the opportunity to truly understand and value the “Essence of Trust”. 10th of June 2010 to 12th of December 2018 – it was a LONG time filled with countless experiences that no man should ever have to endure. Chris claims that this time was amazingly developmental and confirmed his ability to be resilient and non-judgmental, and took his understanding of relationships to a whole new level.
Fast forward to today, as this is being written, it is June 2019. The Banking Royal Commission has shed a lot of light on what happened with banks and banking. We used to think that banks didn’t break the law or do anything dodgy – now we know they do. Some of what was uncovered has reinforced Chris’ plea of not guilty. It remains to be seen if the judicial system will come to the party with a correction, a pardon or even an acquittal. Chris has been out of prison 18 months and he is getting his life back on track. His is an awe-inspiring and riveting journey. Between visits to his psychologist to deal with PTSD, he is working his way back into the speaking circuit. Chris now speaks on Resilience, Relationships, Reinvention and The Essence of Trust. He is also doing some consultancy work, mediation and mentoring assignments. His desire to know people, to understand them, to help them and to engage with them has never waned. What has changed for him is that he has lost his desire for risk-taking projects.
A book, a Netflix series, a movie – all these things are under consideration and he is being heavily encouraged by a lot of influential people. Chris is always open to talk to anyone who may be able to help him, or who may be interested in his experiences.
Thank you for taking the time to read this long bio.
It will be updated as events unfold.
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