Shemara Wikramanayake

Al Drago—Bloomberg/Getty Images
  • Title
    CEO and Managing Director
  • Company
    Macquarie Group
  • Country

Wikramanayake joined Macquarie in 1987, and the business grew with her; she established offices in New Zealand, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, as well as infrastructure funds in the U.S. and Canada. In the wake of the financial crisis, she built the bank’s fledgling asset management business into the company’s most profitable. Now, in her second year as CEO, she is betting big on a green energy transition, steering investments toward renewables and climate-resilient infrastructure. With the pandemic, she’s made the systems that power the digital economy a priority, too. Wikramanayake’s climate commitments extend beyond Macquarie, serving on the World Bank-led Global Commission on Adaptation as well as the UN’s Climate Finance Leadership Initiative. She’s also advising the Australian government on green technology investment. While the pandemic has dampened the financial services business—net operating income decreased 3% for the fiscal year ending March 2020—Wikramanayake has made efforts to soften the blow for others, hiring those who lost jobs to work in Macquarie call centers and lending the resources of its portfolio companies, such as parking lots that became testing centers, to the fight against COVID-19.

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