Macquarie Group Commodity Head Steps Down, 59% pay boost. Macquarie Group Ltd.’s powerhouse commodities head Nick O’Kane, who previously earned more than JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon and Citigroup Inc.’s Jane Fraser, will be resigning later this month. The 28-year veteran of the firm will step down as head of commodities and global markets, and from the executive committee on Feb. 27, to “pursue opportunities outside Macquarie,” the bank said in a statement Tuesday. Simon Wright, currently head of the financial markets unit within commodities and global markets, will replace him on April 1. O’Kane leaves Macquarie as it reported its profit for the nine months ended Dec. 31 was “substantially down” on the previous year. Shares fell as much as 4.3%, before paring losses to 1.9% as at 12:11 pm in Sydney.
O’Kane was a top performer and well liked both internally and with clients, according to Jamie Hannah, deputy head of investments and capital markets at Van Eck in Sydney, who holds Macquarie shares. His departure came as a surprise to the market, with Macquarie’s shares dropping nearly 2% when the banking sector was up. O’Kane made a “massive contribution,” and is leaving for a range of personal reasons, the lender’s Chief Executive Officer Shemara Wikramanayake said on an analyst call Tuesday.
O’Kane’s earnings were impacted due to strong results in the previous period. He received a 59% pay boost in the year through March 2023, with a remuneration of A$57.6 million ($37.6 million), topping even the pay of the biggest US bank bosses. Macquarie Chairman Glenn Stevens defended O’Kane’s salary, noting the bank is competing for talent in a global marketplace. O’Kane was instrumental in Macquarie’s entry into the US natural gas market and played a significant role in the bank’s success in the field.
As O’Kane’s departure sparks interest in the industry, analysts and shareholders are eager to see where his next move will be and how it will impact Macquarie’s business. The leadership shuffle comes at a critical time for the bank, as it grapples with falling profits and market expectations.