Highest paid CEO in Australia is a woman for the first time ever – and she’s making some SERIOUS cash
- Macquarie Group chief Shemara Wikramanayake was named highest paid CEO
- Ms Wikramanayake became the first woman in Australia to take out the title
- She made history by being named the first female CEO for the business
A woman has been named the highest paid CEO in Australia for the first time in history.
Macquarie Group chief executive Shemara Wikramanayake earned $18million during the last financial year – $5million more than the next corporate boss.
The 57-year-old daughter of Sri Lankan migrants was one of just four women to make the top 50 in data collected by OpenDirector for the Australian Financial Review’s annual CEO pay survey.
Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake is Australia’s highest paid woman – an historic first
The former corporate lawyer earned a base salary of $722,000 but her remuneration package swelled with bonuses and share options.
She earns more than $346,000 a week or more than 211 times an average Australian full-time worker’s $85,000 salary leading the investment bank and financial services group, dubbed the ‘millionaires’ factory’.
The English-born banking veteran took over the role and a managing director position in July 2018 taking over from Nicholas Moore.
She had previously worked for the company in nine cities across the globe, and was first hired in 1987.
She made history then too by being named the first female CEO for the business.
In 2019 she was also named one of Fortune’s ‘Most Powerful Women’ for her work on climate change and role with the World Bank’s Global Commission on Adaptation.
Ms Wikramanayake earned $18million during the last financial year – $5million more than the next corporate boss
The Macquarie Group (pictured) topped the most recent list for the highest paid CEO for 2019
The other women who made the top 50 are Coca-Cola Amatil CEO Alison Watkins, who earned $4.1million, Mirvac Group CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz with $4.8million and Fortescue Metals CEO Elizabeth Gaines, with $5million.
Only five CEOs in Australia earned over $10million in the salary rankings.
Gregory Goodman, CEO of property company Goodman came in second with a total pay packet of $12.8million.
Third place went to biotech company CSL’s CEO Paul Perreault with $11.7million, while fourth was Treasury Wine Estate CEO Michael Clarke, with $11.4 million.
Rounding out the five highest paid CEO’s list was BHP’s Andrew Mackenzie with $10.5 million.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce fell to 18th spot on the list this year with take home earnings of $6.6million.
Australia’s highest paid women
The below figures are base salaries, not including short term incentives and bonuses throughout the year.
Christine Holgate, Australia Post chief executive: $2.6million
Frances Adamson, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary: $864,580
Rosemary Huxtable, Department of Finance secretary: $820,240
Glenys Beauchamp, Department of Health secretary: $820,240
Heather Smith, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science secretary: $775,910
Kathryn Campbell, Department of Social Services secretary: $775,910
Renee Leon, Department of Human Services secretary: $775,910
Michele Bruniges, Department of Education secretary: $775,910
Kerri Hartland, Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business secretary: $748,210
Elizabeth Cosson, Department of Veterans Affairs secretary: $720,480
Sources: Salaries as outlined by the Remuneration Tribunal and in annual reports