It's a little too early to celebrate, but rumblings that Shemara Wikramanayake could be a successor to Macquarie Bank boss Nicholas Moore are certainly welcome.
Appointing a woman to the top job would be a significant move for the bank. It'd be a huge appointment in an industry that's still not even attracting an equal number of women to men in the early years, let along retaining those women long enough to see them reach key leadership positions.
Wikramanayake is head of Macquarie Funds Group, Macquarie's most profitable division. She's 51 and according to Fairfax reports (which also list other potential successors), a logical choice for the job. She was hired from Macquarie Capital Funds North America division to head up the new funds management group in 2008.
Wikramanayake is the only woman in Macquarie's ten-person executive committee. And only CEO Moore trumps Wikramanayake when it comes to remuneration -- she took home a $7.26 million salary last financial year. It was a significant increase from the previous year, and came at a time when other executives had their pay packets cut.
So could Macquarie be up for a female CEO? An anonymous insider quoted by Fairfax thinks not, given the "cultural overhaul" that such an appointment would require.
Macquarie Bank's diversity policy is short and sharp. It specifies flexible working options, networking events, mentoring, childcare facilities and an employee assistance program. It does not offer specific targets.
Macquarie Group chairman Kevin McCann is a passionate advocate of women in leadership and a founding member of Liz Broderick's Male Champions of Change. Diane Grady and Catherine Livingstone also sit on the Macquarie board.
We'd like to know what it's like for women working there.