Here's what we know about new Macquarie CEO Shemara Wikramanayake

New Macquarie chief Shemara Wikramanayake, with outgoing CEO Nicholas Moore. (Source: Macquarie)

Macquarie Bank announced this morning that CEO Nicholas Moore will step down on November 30 after 10 years in the role.

Moore will be replaced by Shemara Wikramanayake, the current group head of Macquarie Asset Management. Wikramanayake will be Macquarie’s first female CEO.

Wikramanayake had been widely tipped to replace Moore, following consistently stellar results in the asset management division which she has run since 2008.

In view of the appointment, we’ve compiled a list of interesting facts about Wikramanayake’s career in banking and finance, which has spanned more than 30 years:

  • Wikramanayake holds bachelor’s degrees in commerce and law from the University of New South Wales, and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
  • She commenced her tenure at Macqaurie in 1987. Prior to that, she worked as a corporate lawyer.
  • Between 1987 and 2001, the mother of two held various roles in corporate advisory at Macquarie, where she worked with outgoing CEO Nicholas Moore in establishing Macquarie Capital.
  • During that time, she headed Macquarie’s corporate advisory office in New Zealand, and also set up corporate advisory offices in Hong Kong and Malaysia.
  • In an interview with the AFR in 2016, Wikramanayake said she took a year off from Macquarie in the early 2000’s to see if she could find a different use for her talents. After setting up a children’s charity, travelling and doing some art courses, Wikramanayake decided that working at Macquarie was what she really wanted to do.
  • Wikramanayake has worked in nine cities across six different countries during her career at the bank, including four years in New York from 2004 running Macqaurie’s North American infrastructure funds management business.
  • In 2008, Moore appointed Wikramanayake as head of Macquarie Asset Management. The division reported total assets under management of $495.1 billion as at 31 March 2018, with a 10% increase in net profit to $1.685 billion.
  • According to Macquarie’s 2018 annual report, Wikramanayake was awarded a total remuneration package of $16,683,566, up from $15,294,048 in the prior year.
  • Banking analysts at UBS said they were “very pleased” with Wikramanayake’s appointment as CEO. “We hold her in very high regard and believe she has been fundamental in Macquarie’s success,” UBS said.
  • In a profile last December, the Financial Times reported that Wikramanayake’s Sri Lankan father was a doctor who worked in the UK. She began school in London before attending the prestigous Ascham school for girls in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.
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