A former Blake Dawson lawyer has landed Australia’s top investment banking job.
Shemara Wikramanayake will become the new managing director and CEO of Macquarie Group, effective 30 November. The move sees Ms Wikramanayake become the first ever female chief executive of the financial services company.
Ms Wikramanayake’s new role will see her take over the top job from Nicholas Moore who confirmed his impending retirement late last week.
In addition to her new role as managing director and CEO, Ms Wikramanayake will also be appointed to the Boards of Macquarie Group Limited and Macquarie Bank Limited.
The high-profile professional joined Macquarie in 1987. Prior to this, she was a corporate solicitor at Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst).
During her time at Macquarie, Ms Wikramanayake has worked alongside her predecessor, Mr Moore, within the company’s corporate services arm and through the establishment of Macquarie Capital.
She was appointed head of Macquarie Asset Management in 2008, when Mr Moore became the Group CEO.
Throughout her time at Macquarie, Ms Wikramanayake has worked in nine cities in six countries and across several business lines, according to a company statement.
This has included establishing and leading Macquarie’s corporate advisory offices in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Malaysia, and the infrastructure funds management business in the US and Canada, it noted.
Ms Wikramanayake said she is honoured to have been asked by the Macquarie Board to succeed Mr Moore as CEO.
“I have had the privilege of working with him for 30 years, including the last 10 with him as CEO,” she said.
“He leaves Macquarie in an outstanding position, having led the business to a record level of earnings, a robust funding and capital position, an excellent leadership team and solid momentum for the future.
“I look forward to working with the board, management and our entire Macquarie team to build on Nicholas’ remarkable legacy for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”
Macquarie Group chairman Peter Warne commended Ms Wikramanayake on her dedication to the company over the past three decades, noting that she is the appropriate choice to takeover the CEO position from Mr Moore.
“In considering the transition from Nicholas’ immensely successful decade as CEO of Macquarie, I’m delighted to have a candidate of Shemara’s calibre to take the Group forward,” Mr Warne said.
“Nicholas has been central to Macquarie’s growth and evolution over many years, transforming the Group into the global, diversified business it is today.
“Shemara takes over a business with significant momentum and market-leading positions and does so with the international track record, vision and strong sense of our unique culture to make this a very successful transition.”