Nick O’Kane, Macquarie’s commodities King, steps down
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Nick O’Kane, Macquarie’s commodities King, steps down

He leaves the Australian financial firm after transforming its commodities and global markets division, and despite being widely tipped as likely to succeed current CEO Shemara Wikramanayake.


Nick O’Kane’s decision to step down as head of Macquarie’s commodities and global markets (CGM) division has come as a surprise in Sydney.

The decision was announced Tuesday at an operational briefing. His departure creates an obvious human-resources vacuum. Not below him, where he will be seamlessly replaced by Simon Wright, the current, respected head of CGM’s financial markets division, but rather in the other direction.

Shemara Wikramanayake has kept the Australian firm motoring along nicely since taking over as chief executive from Nicholas Moore in 2018; the bank’s share price is up a little over 17% since mid November.

Wikramanayake praised the outgoing banker’s “massive contribution and impact” to and on the group over nearly three decades.

O’Kane was instrumental in building a business for all seasons in a sector that blows hot and tepid – but rarely cold

But O’Kane was tipped by many – including Joyce Moullakis and Chris Wright, co-authors of 'The millionaires' factory: The inside story of how Macquarie Bank became a global giant' – as Wikramanayake’s logical successor. His decision to relocate back to Sydney in 2021 was, they wrote, seen by some as forward planning, designed to “put him in the right orbit for the top job one day”.

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