Shemara Wikramanayake

Degree: BCom LLB UNSW 1985

Shemara has been Macquarie Group’s Managing Director and CEO since late 2018.

Macquarie is a global financial group providing clients with asset management, banking, leasing, advisory and risk and capital solutions. Headquartered and listed in Australia, Macquarie operates in 31 markets and has over $A560 billion in assets under management.

Shemara joined Macquarie in 1987 in Macquarie Capital in Sydney. In her time at Macquarie, Shemara has worked in six countries and across several business lines, 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. Shemara has also served as Chair of the Macquarie Group Foundation.

As Head of Macquarie Asset Management for 10 years before her appointment as CEO, Shemara led a team of 1,600 staff in 24 markets. Macquarie Asset Management grew to become a world-leading manager of infrastructure and real assets and a top 50 global public securities manager.

In 2018, Shemara was appointed a Commissioner of the Global Commission on Adaptation, a World Bank-led initiative which seeks to accelerate climate adaptation action and create concrete solutions which enhance resilience. In 2019 Shemara was appointed by the UN’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, Michael Bloomberg, to the Climate Finance Leadership Initiative which seeks a six-fold increase in climate mitigation investment from the private sector.

Before joining Macquarie, Shemara worked as a corporate lawyer at Blake Dawson Waldron in Sydney. She holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws degrees from UNSW and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1996.

My time at UNSW has contributed in many ways through my career. My technical financial and legal skills have been valuable in assessing and executing opportunities at many important moments. Equally importantly, the Socratic learning approach at UNSW Law School helped me develop independent critical thinking from the beginning, including understanding the perspectives and reasoning of others and being able to challenge views where appropriate.