2018 Jul 30
In a predominantly male driven industry, powerhouse woman Shemara Wikramanayake of Sri Lankan heritage is here to disrupt the norm as she takes on the role of the first female CEO of Australia’s biggest investment bank, Macquarie Group. Ms Wikramanayake also becomes the only female CEO among Australia’s 20 biggest companies by market value, making not only Sri Lankans, but women all around the world rally to her side.
Having emigrated to Australia in the mid-1970s and schooled at the esteemed Ascham school for girls in Sydney, this mother of two received her higher education at the University of New South Wales as well as Harvard, spent a year as a corporate lawyer and was recognized as one of Australia’s highest-paid executives before taking on her new role, making her a role model to many. With her elevation, Ms Wikramanayake hopes to attract more women to the trade, stating “we as an industry are not attracting enough females in terms of allowing them to develop: we need to provide more flexibility”.
Ms Wikramanayake has worked for the Macquarie Group in 6 different countries, across several business lines since 1987, and plays a large part in making Macquarie Asset Management the group’s fastest growing and most successful division. Under her leadership, Macquarie Asset Management employs more than 1,600 staff members across 23 different countries and contributes to almost two-thirds of the Macquarie Group profit.
Succeeding Nicholas Moore, who led the group for 10 years, Ms Wikramanayake has risen to stardom in the financial services arena and is bound to revolutionize the industry for women everywhere.