Shemara Wikramanayake made headlines last year when she was named Australia’s highest-paid CEO, the first female to achieve the accolade.
This was a significant achievement for a woman whose family arrived in Australia from Sri Lanka when she was just 14 years old.
Wikramanayake is not new to breaking barriers.
When she first became CEO of Macquarie Group, a financial services company with operations in retail and business banking, asset management, wealth management and more, she was at that time the only female CEO among Australia’s 20 largest companies by market value, as well as the first-ever Asian-Australian female to lead a company listed on the S&P/ASX 200.
Much of Wikramanayake’s is focusing the bank on sustainable investments. She recently announced Macquarie’s plans to develop a portfolio of clean energy projects and said the bank was aiming to raise up to $673 million to support investments.
Last year she also joined the World Bank’s Global Center on Adaptation, an organisation set up to manage the effects of climate change through technology planning and change. She is one of only three company CEOs in the group.