Very often, miles apart, to reach even a semblance of prosperity from dire adversity, is something very few of us can accomplish, but, here we have a shining example of this Sri Lankan lass, through sheer determination, making it, from the very nadir, to the pinnacle of success, to finally become the highest paid “Woman-Company Executive Officer”(C.E.O.)in Australia. Just think about it. From one of the tiniest Islands in the sun, to one of the largest Island Continents in the World. A Sri Lankan C.E.O. who is not just a Woman, but also the highest paid one, for the very first time. I’ll say no more, except to congratulate the lady, on behalf of the thousands of Sri Lankan Patriots around the World. You may have heard about it already, but eLanka now gives you the full story of this truly amazing feat.
Source:Daily Mail –
The highest paid CEO in Australia and her family immigrated from Sri Lanka with just $200 to their names when she was 14 years old.
Macquarie Group chief executive Shemara Wikramanayake became the first female to take the spot as Australia’s highest paid CEO on Tuesday, taking home $18million during the 2018/19 financial year.
The 57-year-old and her two siblings have all found success since they arrived in the country as teenagers.
Shemara’s older sister Roshana is a top lawyer at the NSW Bar Association while her younger brother is employed as a surgeon in rural NSW.
Macquarie Bank Managing CEO Shemara Wikramanayake during a media briefing
Her father Ranji previously told the Australian Financial Review the family had enjoyed a life of privilege growing up in Sri Lanka, but that they fell on tough times before finally settling in Australia in 1975.
The Wikramanayake’s came from a long line of highly educated barristers and powerful figures.
Ranji graduated from medical school in 1958 and moved to London with his wife, Amara, for further training in the same year.
The young couple settled down and started a family in England. They had two daughters, Roshana in 1960 and Shemara the following year.
Shemara Wikramanayake, in 1983 with her extended family. From left, brother and future surgeon Priyan, aunt Anna Maria, uncle and barrister Nimal, Shemara aged 21, sister and future lawyer Roshana and mother Amara
In 1962, when Shemara was just one, the family returned to their home in Ceylon, Sri Lanka, with most of their extended family.
Ranji had been hired as a consultant physician at Colombo General Hospital at just 32 years old. Despite his youth, he was considered one of the top five physicians in the country.
During this period, he developed an interest in researching diabetes – a passion which would one day flourish in Australia.
The couple gave birth to their third child, a boy named Priyan, and shortly after they relocated back to England.
Political unrest and unfounded allegations against Ranji’s father – a successful barrister – forced the family to flee Sri Lanka and return to London.
But the move was costly.
Shemara’s uncle previously told the AFR the entire family once ‘had a very privileged life… we didn’t want for anything,’ but when they arrived in England, they came with very little.
Ranji struggled to find permanent work in the medical industry during his second stint in London.
He filled in for other doctors and commuted to Birmingham for weeks at a time, where he slept in hospital quarters Monday-Friday just to get by.
So in 1975, Ranji made a call on the future of his family. They would move to Sydney, where he was offered a part time job at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
When they arrived, they had their possessions and $200 cash.
‘We lost everything in 1970 and we started life again,’ Ranji previously told AFR. ‘And we started everything again when we moved to Sydney.’
Macquarie Group’s incoming CEO Shemara Wikramanayake poses for a portrait ahead of the Macquarie Group’s Annual General Meeting
The family rented for six months before scrounging together the money to buy their first home in the harbourside suburb of Rose Bay.
From there, they were able to purchase another home in the exclusive Vaucluse overlooking Sydney Harbour.
Shemara and her sister were enrolled in the exclusive $34,000-a-year Ascham School.
Shemara’s older sister Roshana went on to become a senior policy lawyer at the NSW Bar Association, while her younger brother works at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital in Bowral as a surgeon.
On Tuesday, Shemara was officially named the highest paid CEO in Australia – making history as the first female executive to take the title.
Her $18million salary was $5million more than the next corporate boss, according to OpenDirector’s annual CEO pay report for the Australian Financial Review.
Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake ahead of the Macquarie Group annual general meeting
The former corporate lawyer earned a base salary of $722,000 but her remuneration package swelled with performance 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 last year became Macquarie Group’s first-ever female managing director and CEO.
She had previously worked for the company in nine cities across the globe, and was first hired in 1987.
In 2019, she was also named one of the American Fortune magazine’s ‘Most Powerful Women’ for her work tackling climate change and her other role with the World Bank’s Global Commission on Adaptation.
Ranji said his daughter doesn’t discuss her personal life in the public sphere, as is company policy.
But he did say they are part of ‘an amazing family. We are very private people… Under impossible odds, we have all succeeded.’
2. The highest-paid CEO in Australia is a woman for the first time ever, as Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake surges to the top – By SHARON MASIGE
Shemara Wikramanayake is Australia’s highest paid CEO. Image credit: Louie Douvis, SMH
It’s no surprise Macquarie’s CEO is making bank, but this time it’s different.
Macquarie Group’s CEO Shemara Wikramanayake is the highest-paid chief executive in Australia – becoming the first woman to take the title position – according to The Australian Financial Review’s latest CEO pay survey.
Wikramanayake topped the latest list with a reported pay of more than $18 million, according to the survey, conducted by data company OpenDirector. It ranks the 50 highest-paid CEOs in the country, using figures based on the total pay listed in annual reports.
Wikramanayake was one of four women on the list including Coca-Cola Amatil CEO Alison Watkins ($4.1 million), Mirvac Group CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz ($4.8 million), and Fortescue Metals CEO Elizabeth Gaines ($5 million).
Wikramanayake was announced as managing director and CEO of Macquarie Group back in July 2018, taking over from Nicholas Moore. She made history at the time by becoming Macquarie’s first female CEO.
Starting at the investment bank – known informally as the ‘millionaires’ factory’ – in 1987, Wikramanayake ascended in rank to head up Macquarie’s asset management division in 2008 and eventually CEO. During her time, Wikramanayake has worked in nine cities across six continents and established Macquarie’s corporate advisory offices in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
In 2019, Wikramanayake was named one of Fortune’s ‘Most Powerful Women’ internationally. According to Fortune, Wikramanayake focused on climate change this year, becoming one of a handful of CEOs to be named as a commissioner of the World Bank’s Global Commission on Adaptation. The initiative, which counts Bill Gates and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon among its list of commissioners aims to ramp up action to fight climate change.
Only five CEOs earned over $10 million dollars in the AFR’s CEO pay list. Following Wikramanayake’s more than $18 million pay was Gregory Goodman, CEO of property company Goodman ($12.8 million), biotech company CSL’s CEO Paul Perreault ($11.7 million), Treasury Wine Estate CEO Michael Clarke ($11.4 million) and BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie ($10.5 million).
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce ranked 18th on the list at $6.6 million, a 14.7% decrease from the year before.
Earlier this year the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) revealed the 10 highest-paid CEOs in the ASX200 listed companies in the 2018 financial year. The ACSI list, however, looked at the ‘realised pay’ – the value of cash and equity received – with Qantas boss Alan Joyce topping the list at the time at $23.9 million.
Sri Lanka endured a torturous tour to Australia during a brief three T20 stint, but left with lessons learned for the upcoming World Cup in the same format in October next year down under.
While eyebrows may have been raised at the fiddling of the squad which lacked sufficient experience due the hardline stance taken by the administrators who decided to overlook some obvious choices who opted out of the tour to Pakistan fearing their safety, it gave some youngsters the opportunity to be exposed to Australian conditions if they are needed when the main event comes around.
The team that arrived here was packed with the squad that whitewashed the world number one ranked Pakistanis at home 3-0 in what was regarded as a sensational achievement, but seen by many as a reciprocal “thank you” from the hosts for the brave Sri Lankans who undertook the first ever tour since the near massacre of the team in Lahore which led to all teams in the world refusing to tour the country.
Lasith Malinga stood out with his solo effort at gaining some respect from the Australians who have had little success against the Sri Lankans in this format for a considerable period. They took the opportunity on offer with no remorse reducing the Sri Lankans to a sorry sight in all three encounters before sending them packing after a 3-nil rout.
The high riding Aussies, fresh from a memorable Ashes triumph have turned their flagging fortunes around on the back of consecutive successes against England, Sri Lanka and are in the process of dismantling a talented Pakistani outfit as the Summer approaches.
After the turmoil of the World Cup where the Lankans were in complete disarray with the sacking of the coach and other officials who were thought to be responsible for their poor showing, they travelled to Australia with a stand in coach in Rumesh Ratnayake while the hunt for a replacement was on.
Former Pakistani coach Mickey Arthur who also took the reins of Australia and South Africa is reported to be installed as the next coach and this is seen a positive towards steadying the ship that is veering off course.
Sri Lanka who have won the T20 World Cup during the era of the Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillekeratne Dilshan and some other outstanding superstars have currently dwindled to a position where they have to qualify to make it to the upper level in the World Cup in Australia. Upwards and onwards is the only course left for them and it only needs proper direction to get them back on track.
Their fans around the globe wait with bated breath to see where Mickey Arthur can take them in his short stint at the helm before the World Cup.
If you suffer from Osteoporosis, common cause of chronic aches & pain as you age,see your doctor. He or she will do bone density nuclear studies and Bone Mineral Densitometry (DEXA).
There is no need for any healthy active person to take calcium supplements daily, because you take enough in your milk and other dairy products, leafy greens, seafood, legumes, dried fruits, tofu and various foods that are fortified with calcium.
This is because taking calcium supplements lacks the effectiveness to prevent fractures in old people.
Taking daily calcium supplements may produce constipation.
Professor Ian Reid and Associate Professor Mark Boland of University of Auckland once wrote that calcium supplements were not needed in healthy individuals, nor were they required in most people being treated for
On the other hand, vitamin D supplements help in the prevention of osteo-malacia (softening of bones), especially those who are not exposed to direct sunlight.
For bone weakness without taking calcium supplements, you may start taking bisphosphonates, romosozumab that inhibits bone resorption and stimulate bone formation.
Professor Reid seem to think that calcium and vitamin D supplements may be used in conjunction with the above drugs for osteoporosis.
Do dark pigmented people like Asians and Sri Lankans get enough sunlight to make vitamin D as much as the non-pigmented people?
Pigment melanin seem to reduce the skin’s ability to make vitamin D in response to exposure to the sun. Furthermore, Sri Lankans and other Asians in the tropical belts, avoid being in the sun due to high degree of humidity and heat which makes exposure very uncomfortable. They do not believe in the traditional sunbathing as the non-pigment individuals.
This vitamin is also called “sunshine vitamin” because it’s manufactured in our skin in response to direct sunlight. It is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it gets absorbed through the gut in the presence of fatty foods.
It is known that vitamin D insufficiency is more prevalent among African Americans. They do not achieve optimal 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25 (OH)) concentrations primarily due to the thick melanin layer in the basal layers of the outer skin (epidermis). In Sri Lanka, Rodrigo et. al. has reported that 56% of the premenopausal women have vitamin D level less than 35 nmols/L in the Southern coastal belts of the country.
A survey done by Meyer HE, Holvik K, Lofthus CM and Tennakoon SU, observed that Sri Lankans in Norway had substantially lower levels of s-25(OH) serum 25- hydroxyvitamin D than in a group in Kandy, further the levels among Sri Lankans in Kandy was lowest during the months of August and September after the SW monsoon rains, when there is very little sunlight due to the heavy clouds.
In the developed countries like Australia, the doctors seem to request for blood vitamin D levels routinely, when checking for lipids and other biochemical investigations. However, in Asian countries including Sri Lanka, such routine tests are not done for obvious reason, being the cost factor.
Knowing one’s vitamin D level is important as enough levels keep you healthy preventing many diseases. It maintains strong bones. Lower levels of vitamin D is found in people who fractures their weight bearing bones with the slight slip and fall.
The incidence of such fractures, especially the neck of the femur is quite common among the elderly people in Sri Lanka, and they have pins(Smith Peterson) inserted to strengthen those bones, at a very high cost to the patients and the government if you are a public individual not having funds to enter the private hospitals.
Lower vitamin D levels seems to be present among those people suffering from depression.
Vitamin D boosts weight loss and required for normal growth and development of bones and teeth.
It regulates the calcium and phosphorus absorption through your gut. What this means is that lack of dietary vitamin D may prevent absorption of calcium in your gut. Your body gets its vitamin D from your food, supplements and through the skin exposure to the direct sunlight.
Vitamin D also boosts your immune system and prevents the risk of developing certain diseases. A large-scale meta-analysis using more than 10,000 participants concludes that vitamin D supplementation may help to prevent a major cause of global death from acute respiratory infections, by boosting the immune system.
The other benefits are- reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis, heart disease and help to reduce your likelihood of developing the flu during flu epidemics, so frequent in Sri Lanka.
Scientists have done research on the role of vitamin D on the prevention of colorectal cancer and the results are promising. It is also observed that taking higher levels of vitamin D is linked with a lower chance of getting the disease.
It is also observed that intake of vitamin D supplements and diet may protect against breast cancer and improves markers of prostate cancer.
The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency includes:
General tiredness, aches and pains in your joints. Difficulty in climbing steps. Bone and muscle pain and cramps.
If you have any of the above symptoms, do not neglect and say just “old age”, check your blood vitamin D level. Levels below 30 nmol/L of serum 25- hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) may need vitamin D supplements.
Taking excess of vitamin D being fat soluble may accumulate in your liver and may produce toxicity. Vitamin D levels above 100ng/ml (250 nmol/L) are potentially harmful.
People in Sri Lanka though being in a “sunshine country” and other migrated dark skin people including Sri Lankans in other countries, should check their vitamin D levels annually.
There is no necessity to take daily calcium supplements, dietary calcium is enough for daily requirement.
Hope this article was useful.
Ref: Calcium and vitamin D -InSight+ -Issue 45/18 Nov 2019
“When I was 15, a man of thirty I would call ‘Uncle” because he was old to me and through a mark of traditional respect. When I became fifty, a man of ninety was very old to me. But on the 7th of December this year, I would be ninety and I don’t feel old.
Joan Collins said, ”Age is just a number. It’s totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine”.
Some of my friends say, ”I am only 18 and the rest 72 is experience”.
I was born in a little hamlet called “Hapugala” in the Galle district, and at the age of 4, my family migrated to the hill capital-Kandy 1,700 ft above sea level. That’s we are still, except my second life in Sydney, Australia.
Dec. 7th 1929, happened to be a Saturday, and this year my celebration falls on the same day, a Saturday. That coincidence is auspicious to me.
Let me now take you back to the nineteen thirties, life then, as my memory remembers, before most of you friends and acquaintances were born.
We had no antibiotics. Just imagine the health risks people had to face globally. Alexander Flemings discovered that mushroom named penicillium only a year before I was born, that was 1928, but the antibiotic was not marketed till 1945 towards the end of the World War 11.
We had two drugs that stopped the growth of bacteria: sulphadiazine for general infections and suphadimidine for gastric upsets.
As I remember the most serious illness then was double pneumonia and when you are hospitalized for this serious illness, you do not come home
Heart disease was unheard of. It was described by Ancel Key in the fifties.
There was no place for heart disease then, our mothers’ cooked healthy foods at home. and we never ate those present day foods saturated with fat, salt and added sugar- out in the restaurants that did not exist, like today. In fact, there were no restaurants or street food outlets then. The only hotels were the South Indian hotels, we called “Saivar kades”. They were most unclean eating houses, we invariably bought the Dosai and idly, as take a ways to enjoy at home.
We had no big cars, except for the ‘Baby Austin’s”. To start the car you need to crank-shaft through
the front grills. You rotate the gadget many a times till you hear the start noise, or it may rebound and
hurt your shoulder to delay your trip by hours till the pain subsides.
We had no refrigerators. We bought large ice blocks wrapped in saw dust to prevent melting, and my
mother used to have a wooden box where meat and fish were stored with these ice blocks.
We had no air conditioners, except for fans.
We had the Bell type of telephones that gave problems most times.
Short messages were sent on postcards by post, unlike today free text messaging is so convenient and quick.
I am happy to be with you today, enjoying all the “High Tech” advances that has made our lives more comfortable. Today, if I want to contact someone locally or overseas, I just press a few buttons on my smartphone and wallah, I chat with my friend for hours, through whatsApp or Viber.
During the thirties, I remember we used to make a communication device with two empty match boxes and a taught thread to talk to other kids within a few feet away. That was then.
We should be not complacent with the wonderful life we all have today, because tomorrow will be different.
Disastrous climate changes will affect us all.
In 2016, Prof Hawking said it was a “near certainty” that sometime in the next 10,000 years, humanity would be faced with a global disaster. I am sorry to say that it is now at our door step.
The annual cricket game between Sri Lanka Lions Sports Club & Instant Cricketers for the “Non Benders” shield was played on Sunday 10th of November at Ollie Webb Reserve, Parramatta, NSW.
The game was played under the proposed IPL 2020 changes as widely speculated in the recent sports news section in the media. Ie a squad of 14 were declared as a team instead of the usual 11, at the beginning of the game.
If interested in knowing more about IPL changes, check out the link https://www.wisden.com/indian-premier-league/ipl-2020-proposed-tweaks-what-mean.
In addition, special rules of 36 overs per team, maximum of only six (6) overs per bowler and a Maximum of 30 runs per batsmen were enforced.
The teams were led by two well known Sri Lankan personalities in NSW namely
Prasanna “Kari” Kariyawasam & Duke “Suren” Ramachandran
The players from the two declared squads were old boys of a very wide range of schools in Sri Lanka.
And they were…..
|Sri Lanka Lions Social team||* Instant Cricketers Team|
|Siri Kamalasuriya (ex-Sri Jayawardenapura, Kotte)||*Duke Suren Ramachandran (ex-S.Thomas, Mt Lavinia)|
|Janar Weerasingham (ex-Royal, Colombo)||*Stanley Jayanthakumar (ex-S.Thomas, Mt Lavinia)|
|Mahen Selvarajah (ex-Royal, Colombo)||*Eksath Perera (ex-S.Thomas, Mt Lavinia)|
|Shanti Kumar (ex-Jaffna Central)||*Jerome Gasperson (ex-S.Thomas, Mt Lavinia)|
|Ranjan Lal Fernando (ex-Prince of Wales,Moratuwa)||*Radesh Chanmugam (ex-Royal, Colombo)|
|Shantha Gunasekera (ex-Prince of Wales,Moratuwa) –only batted||*Raj Karunairatnam (ex-Royal, Colombo|
|Priya Mudoon (ex-Ananda, Colombo)||*Mathi Chelliah (ex-Colombo Hindu)|
|Prianta Kariawasam (ex-Ananda, Colombo)||*Shantha Kulasingham (ex-Wesley, Colombo)|
|Nalin Perera (ex-St.Anthony’s , Katugastote||*Max Anandappa (ex-De Mazenod, Kandana)|
|Gamini Samarasinghe (ex-Mahinda, Galle)||*Mark Ravindran (ex-Jaffna Central)|
|Janaka Ranawaka (ex-Mahinda, Galle)||*Ashok Ponnudurai (ex- St.John’s, Jaffna)|
|Wasantha Hettiarachchi (ex-Dharmarajah, Kandy)-only fielded||* Wimal Jesuthasan (ex- St.John’s, Jaffna)|
|Arjuna De Silva (ex-St.John’s , Nugegoda)||* JP Jeyapalan (ex- Royal College & Chundikuli Girls, Jaffna)|
|Prasann Kariyawasam (Royal College & ex-Mrs. Senadheera’s Montessori for mainly girls, Ratmalana)|
The honorary Head umpire was Suhen Setukavalar & The honorary Scorer was Gamini Jayawardena .
The toss was won by The Sri Lankan Lions Social team and they opted to bowl.
The Instant cricketers in their allocated 36 overs managed to get only 153 for the loss of 9 wickets .
The main contributors to the score were:
Radesh Chanmugam 30retired, Max Anandappa 25, Raj Karunairatnam 21, Stanley Jayanthakumar 13, Jerome Gasperson 12 & Eksath Perera 11
Wicket takers for “the Lions “ were:
Janar Weerasingham 3 for 9 in 3 overs (including a brilliant caught and bowl),
Shanti Kumar 2 for 15 in 3 overs, Mahen Selvarajah 2 for 20 in 5 overs,
Gamini Samarasinghe 1 for 16 in 3 overs & Ranjan Lal Fernando 1 for 23 in 5 overs
In reply The Sri Lanka Lions easily chased down the required runs for the loss of only 6 wickets .
The main contributors to the score were:
Shanti Kumar 31 retired, Gamini Samarasinghe 25, Arjuna De Silva 21 retired,
Prianta Kariyawasam 16, Mahen Selvarajah 15 & Priya Mudoon 14 retired
Wicket takers for “The instant cricketers” were :
Ashok Ponnudurai 2 for 23 in 5 overs, Radesh Chanmugam 2 for 27 in 5 overs Max Anandappa 1 for 28 in 6 overs
The awards were given at the end as follows:
Best Batsman – Radesh Chanmugam ( Instant Cricketers )
Best Bowler – Janar Weerasingham ( SriLanka Lions )
Best Allrounder – Mahen Selvarajah ( SriLanka Lions )
Man Of The Match – Shanti Kumar ( SriLanka Lions )
Winning team captain Prasannna Kariyawasam magnanimously requested the regular captain Gamini Jayawardena ( who was injured before the game) to accept the “Non Benders Shield” on behalf of his team from the representative of the previous holders of the shield “The instant cricketers”.
In conclusion, the hard work put in by both by Prassanna Kariyawasam & Jerome Gasperson to ensure that this social game was played in such a “friendly” atmosphere was not lost amongst the players from both sides and they unanimously echoed the sentiment and wished for this fixture to continue for many more years to come.
1. Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.
2. Make the best of your circumstances. No one has everything, and everyone has something of sorrow intermingled with gladness of life. The trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears.
3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t think that somehow you should be protected from misfortune that befalls other people.
4. You can’t please everybody. Don’t let criticism worry you.
5. Don’t let your neighbor set your standards. Be yourself.
6. Do the things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.
7. Never borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than real ones.
8. Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish jealousy, enmity, grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.
9. Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about new places.
10. Don’t hold post-mortems. Don’t spend your time brooding over sorrows or mistakes. Don’t be one who never gets over things.
11. Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.
12. Keep busy at something. A busy person never has time to be unhappy.’
Attributed to Robert Lewis Stevenson
Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake is the highest paid CEO in Australia, the first woman ever to top the AFR’s CEO pay survey.
According to a report in the Business Insider (www.businessinsider.com.au), Wikramanayake earns more than $ 18 million, followed by Goodman CEO Gregory Goodman – $ 12.8 million, and CSL CEO Paul Perreault – $ 11.7 million. Wikramanayake was also named one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women. As per Wikipedia, she was born in England, where her Sri Lankan father was a doctor. She attended a State school in London before the family moved to Australia.
Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake
Business Insider said it’s no surprise Macquarie’s CEO is making bank, but this time it’s different.
Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake is the highest-paid chief executive in Australia – becoming the first woman to take the title position – according to The Australian Financial Review’s latest CEO pay survey.
Wikramanayake topped the latest list with a reported pay of more than $ 18 million, according to the survey, conducted by data company OpenDirector. It ranks the 50 highest-paid CEOs in the country, using figures based on the total pay listed in annual reports.
Wikramanayake was one of four women on the list including Coca-Cola Amatil CEO Alison Watkins ($ 4.1 million), Mirvac Group CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz ($ 4.8 million), and Fortescue Metals CEO Elizabeth Gaines ($ 5 million).
Wikramanayake was announced as Managing Director and CEO of Macquarie Group back in July 2018, taking over from Nicholas Moore. She made history at the time by becoming Macquarie’s first female CEO.
Starting at the investment bank – known informally as the ‘millionaires’ factory’ – in 1987, Wikramanayake ascended in rank to head up Macquarie’s asset management division in 2008 and eventually CEO. During her time, Wikramanayake has worked in nine cities across six continents and established Macquarie’s corporate advisory offices in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
In 2019, Wikramanayake was named one of Fortune’s ‘Most Powerful Women’ internationally. According to Fortune, Wikramanayake focused on climate change this year, becoming one of a handful of CEOs to be named as a commissioner of the World Bank’s Global Commission on Adaptation. The initiative, which counts Bill Gates and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon among its list of commissioners, aims to ramp up action to fight climate change.
Only five CEOs earned over $ 10 million in the AFR’s CEO pay list. Following Wikramanayake’s more than $ 18 million pay was property company Goodman CEO Gregory Goodman ($ 12.8 million), biotech company CSL CEO Paul Perreault ($ 11.7 million), Treasury Wine Estate CEO Michael Clarke ($ 11.4 million) and BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie ($ 10.5 million).
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce ranked 18th on the list at $ 6.6 million, a 14.7% decrease from the year before.
Earlier this year the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) revealed the 10 highest-paid CEOs in the ASX200 listed companies in the 2018 financial year. The ACSI list, however, looked at the ‘realised pay’ – the value of cash and equity received – with Qantas boss Alan Joyce topping the list at the time at $ 23.9 million. (www.businessinsider.com.au/macquarie-group-ceo-shemara-wikramanayake-highest-paid-ceo-australia-new-worth-2019-11)
In May 1941, the Nuwaraeliya district was rocked by the news of the dastardly murder of the Superintendent on Stellenberg Estate Pupuressa, Mr.George Pope. In an article which I wrote about ten years ago titled “Tales from the Thotum” I wrote about this crime in detail. I subsequently changed the title to “Marked for Murder”. His murder, the quick work by the police in arresting the accused, and the subsequent trial which followed which was heard by one of the most eminent judges of the time Justice Soertsz, made its way into criminal records as one of the most dramatic and brutal murders of the time.
Seventy seven years later, the aftermath of this crime still casts a dark shadow particularly on Stellenberg estate, and its memory lives on in the minds of some retired labourers of an older generation as I discovered recently. In September in the course of a visit to Sri Lanka I was privileged to enjoy the hospitality of an old Anthonian Sebastian Retty and his wife, in their home in the beautiful hamlet of Panwilatenna not far from Gampola. In terms of picture book natural beauty, Panwilatenna remains a hidden secret “far from the madding crowd” of commercial tourism. This area is blessed with stunning scenery and breathtaking scenic vistas where every prospect pleases. Mesmerizing mountain views are yours to enjoy if you care to put on your walking shoes and go where the road takes you……The area is dotted with small private tea holdings, charming little villages, desolate valleys, and undulating hills covered in a mantle of dark green forests.Here nature is at her pristine best.
Please pardon the digression, but into this story on the trail of a murder, a stone monument close to the home of my hosts compels me to introduce a historical note which goes back to the reign of King Rajasinghe the 2nd. This stone monument reads : HERE LIVED (AD 1657 – 1670) ROBERT KNOX, JOHN LOVELAND, JOHN BERRY AND WILLIAM DAY. For the record, Robert Knox an English sea captain arrived in Ceylon on the 19th of November 1659 in the good ship “Anne”. The ship was impounded by King Rajasinghe the 2nd, King of Kandy at the time, and Knox along with 16 of the crew were taken captive.
They were treated leniently but forbidden to leave the kingdom. After 19 years of captivity Knox and a companion Stephen Rutland made a daring escape to the Dutch fort in Arippu. The Dutch treated them generously and sent them to Batavia (present day Djakarta) from where they were put aboard an English ship the “Celeste” which took them to England. They arrived in London in September 1680. That was “The Great Escape” of the time ! On a poetic note, I am compelled to add that this monument an important historical landmark, stands in splendid solitude and isolation amidst picture postcard scenic splendour, bearing testimony to the fact that these intrepid Englishman once lived here.
A walk along a mountain track specially in the late afternoon when the landscape is bathed in sunsets golden glow is spiritual. The three main towns in the vicinity of Panwilatenna are Galaha, Pupuressa and Gampola. Nuwaraeliya is about three hours away. There are many tea plantations in the area, and one held special interest for me and that is Stellenberg Estate. I first heard of the “Pope Murder Case” from my Dad as a child. When my brother sister and I came home for the holidays from boarding school, one of our favourite pastimes was listening to Dad relate stories after dinner. Story telling was an art in which he excelled, and he had a flair for the dramatic. The stillness of a lonely estate bungalow at night created an atmosphere of suspense, and when he told us a “ghost story” or any tale with a tinge of mystery, the characters in the story really came to life ! As a senior student at St. Anthony’s College Kandy boarded in “The Journey’s End”, I read about this murder story in the Sunday supplement of “The Observer”, but could not cut it out for keeps as the paper had to be shared with my fellow boarders !
Now seventy seven years after this gruesome murder, here I was virtually a stones throw away from the scene of the crime. One morning, Sebastian took me to Stellenberg and along the scenic route to the estate I became determined to ” to get under the skin” of this story horrible as it was. It was a beautiful sunny day, but as we turned off to the estate from the main road, dark thoughts filled my mind at the realization that this was the same road that George Pope took that fateful night when he was killed. It suddenly occurred to me that I had some unfinished business – for want of a better phrase – to finish. Having written about this case and even receiving an acknowledgement from a veteran planter in the UK who was conversant with the story when it was first published, I wanted to “see” for myself the actual events as they happened on that fateful night 77 years ago.
Contrary to some estates which pre nationalisation were managed by the Agency Houses, Stellenberg to her credit seems to be in good hands judging by the fields which were neat and in very good condition. Conversely, some estates in the area I saw prior to this visit, would break the heart of any planter who had worked on Company managed estates. One large estate a showpiece in its heyday, had been completely abandoned after nationalisation, when a tyrannical Superintendent was forcibly driven out of the estate by a disgruntled labour force ! It is still there in ruins with grass, weeds and undergrowth flourishing where tea bushes once held sway. Only the factory still stands – a dilapidated wreck. But I digress……..
The road we travelled on Stellenberg leading to the factory and the Superintendent’s bungalow is a drivers nightmare, in contrast to the tea fields. This is characteristic of most estate roads today, due to lack of maintenance. My first stop was the factory. This was the factory to which George Pope was taken, after a search party organized by the tea maker Mr.Lodewyke found him mortally wounded by his car. In fact it was a worker on the night shift named Cassim who led the search party as instructed by Mr.Lodewyke. He found George Pope bleeding to death lying by his car at the spot where his car was waylaid that fateful night. The six assassins had done their deadly work, hacking him to death with pruning knives. Cassim broke all speed records running back to the factory to inform Mr. Lodewyke of the gruesome find. The latter then telephoned Mr.Shand, the Superintendent on the adjoining estate Delta Group, who in turn contacted the police. Whenever he left the estate in the evening usually to his club, or to visit a fellow SD for dinner, George Pope instructed the tea maker that on passing the factory on his return, the latter was to telephone his bungalow and ask the Appu to keep the garage doors open. On the evening of the 9th May 1941 he left to have dinner with the Superintendent of another estate in the vicinity. That night when he was unusually late, Mr.Lodewyke fearing something was amiss, organized a search party.
At the factory I was fortunate to meet an elderly labourer – and still more lucky to have Sebastian with me as his Tamil was more fluent than mine ! When this labourer was asked if he knew about the “Dorai” on this estate who was murdered long ago, he told us he heard about it from some labourers – now in their late eighties whose fathers had worked under Mr.Pope. He directed us to the exact spot on the road round a curve where the ambush was laid, not far from the factory. Two trees were placed across the road, while the murderers under cover of darkness hid in the tea bushes. When Mr.Pope stepped out of the car attempting to move the obstacles, they struck with pent up rage and deadly force.
Sebastian and I went to the spot, and in my minds eye I could visualize Mr.Pope negotiating his way on the narrow road at night, then slowing down at the bend in the road, finally stopping to move the obstacles in his path. I always harboured some questions regarding this murder and found the answer here. First, how was it that Mr.Pope did not fine tune his antenna to the sensitivities of the situation – relations between labour and management were very strained and tenuous to say the least – did he not suspect that this could be a deadly trap ? If that were so, why did he not reverse down the road to flee the scene until he came to a spot where he could turn around and go back to where he came from, thus avoiding returning to the estate that night ? At least, he could have reversed and driven to the bungalow of the Superintendent on Delta estate adjoining Stellenberg, Mr.Shand. He knew Mr.Shand and could have stayed the night in his bungalow.
Hindsight is always easy and the trouble with hindsight is that one projects one’s thoughts to another time frame – to another time and place – whilst living in the present !! My questions were answered in an instant ! Studying the crime scene I surmised that even if he reversed, he could not accelerate downhill at speed as the road was very narrow. This was not a main road. IF he reversed, his murderers could have easily overtaken him on foot and their deadly intent would have given them wings. It was apparent that they had chosen the spot for ambush with meticulous care. George Pope was driving uphill, he had to slow down at the curve, and they were hiding in tea bushes by the road from which they could practically reach out and grab him the moment he stepped out of his car. Whichever way one looked at this, it certainly was a deadly ambush and murder at midnight. Visualizing the murder in my mind I experienced a chill although it was a day of glorious sunshine. There is a powerful form of energy here which should not be taken for granted. The most sensible thing is to always be aware of the need for caution in a spiritual sense, and make sure that one does nothing to upset the balance.
From the murder scene we headed for the Superintendents bungalow. The latter was away, and we were greeted by his Appu. He belonged to a younger generation, had heard about the murder, but could not tell us much about it. The once beautiful bungalow and the gardens were badly in need of maintenance. It still retained its colonial charm as most Superintendents bungalows do, but when maintenance is absent an air of dilapidation sets in and becomes visible. I felt a a sinister aura about this bungalow in the context of the horrible murder of its one time occupant. There is nothing so sad as to see a lovely garden, in this case what once would have been a lovely “English Country Garden” surrendering to weeds despite the beautiful roses in bloom. We could not enter the bungalow in the Superintendent’s absence, but as I stood at the entrance to the hall it occurred to me that it was through this door that George Pope left his home for the last time on the evening of the 9th May 1941 not dreaming he would never return. I wandered about the garden, keeping sight of the bungalow with my camera working overtime and my thoughts racing back to that night in 1941 – the night of the long knives, to quote the title of a film. In this case it was the night of the pruning knives. The Appu then pointed us to some labourers quarters in the distance informing us that there were two who could give us more information on the Pope murder case.
Little did I realize that within the next hour I would come face to face with two of the assailants of George Pope, Weeraswamy, and Velaithen, the letter of thanks which they wrote to the presiding Judge who heard the case Justice Soertsz, and to their defence lawyer thanking them for hearing the case, – all in print of course. This letter ended with the slogan “Long live the Sangam !” (The Union). An English translation accompanied the letter originally written in Tamil. An inquisitive crowd surrounded us and when Sebastian introduced me as someone writing about this murder, they became very eager to help. In a short while we were introduced to two labourers whose fathers had worked on Stellenberg at the time of the murder. Better still, one of them had a full page newspaper clipping of the murder in Tamil, with the photographs which I referred to in the previous paragraph. At last – I could “see” two of the assailants. I read their letter of thanksgiving to Justice Soertsz.
But although I can read Tamil it was Sebastian who elicited all the information I needed. Justice Soertsz looked very distinguished and regal in his robes. The only photograph missing I thought sadly, was the victim – George Pope himself. Of course there was no chance of photocopying this news sheet, so I did the next best thing – I photographed the photographs in the newspaper ! Of interest were two photographs of George Pope’s car, based on a police reconstruction of the crime scene. One photograph clearly showed the car stopped in front of the two sturdy trees (not big, but big enough to create an obstacle) the way the victim saw them. The second was a photo of the car some distance away from the scene accentuating the curve in the road which compelled George Pope to reduce speed. I could not help but notice that the road we were on, now in shambles, looked in excellent condition with not a pothole in sight in the black and white photographs of Mr.Pope’s time, which were taken soon after the murder.
We spent over five hours on Stellenberg that morning and I came away emotionally drained. The macabre events that transpired that night in 1941 played over and over in my mind to the extent that I had in some way “relived” this murder in all its brutality. There were six accused. They were Weerasamy, Velaithen, Iyaan Perumal, Rengasamy, Sinne Muniyandy, and Marimuttu Velaithen. The 1st and 2nd accused, Weerasamy and Velaithen were sentenced to death by hanging. They appealed the death sentence to the Supreme Court, which was denied. Weerasamy was hung at the Welikade jail on February the 27th 1942, and Velaithen followed him the next day. The rest received a sentence of life imprisonment. Mr.Pope who had been Superintendent on Stellenberg estate since 1938 was buried in the Anglican cemetery in Pussellewa. I surmised his body would have been so badly mutilated that sending a corpse by sea all the way to England even under refrigeration would have been improbable. With an ache in my heart I realized that in this sordid story there is no mention of family. The thought that he died all alone apart from the gruesome manner of his death still fills me with sadness.
I have been asked many times for my opinion on life after death. Call it ” The Other Side”, “The Spirit World”, or “Life after Life”, I firmly believe that life continues in other dimensions. I have also been asked if I believe in “Hauntings”. My answer is in the affirmative. There are reasons why spirits become earthbound, and those reasons are mostly unhappy. A person who has lived a rich and fulfilling life is not likely to be earthbound. The low vibrations of negative emotion are what binds a spirit to the earth plain – one reason why ghost stories are full of sadness and despair. It is well known that Queen Catherine Howard the fifth wife of King Henry the 8th, still walks the halls of Hampton Court Palace screaming in terror and pleading for mercy from her ex husband King Henry. In fact The Readers Digest in one of its editions a few years ago published this story in an article titled “The Haunted Castles of Britain”.
The ‘Supernatural’ and everything associated with it is is too complex a topic for “discussion” in this article. But in my readings on the Supernatural I found that more and more scientists are convinced that accounts of “life after life” merit serious study and research. A few years ago Doctor Raymond Moody in his book “Life After Life” detailed over one hundred cases of life beyond the grave. Soon after the publication of Doctor Moody’s book, the sensation hungry press and television media gave it wide publicity.
Anyone who puts forward an idea that is contrary to all scientific views and long established beliefs is a suitable target for ridicule. The good Doctor was no exception, and he had his detractors.A firestorm of discussions and debates on life after death followed. This resulted in many Doctors, Psychiatrists and spiritual leaders launching independent investigations to review the data in Doctor Moody’s book. They were surprised to find – and more surprisingly reached the unanimous conclusion that the Doctor’s observations and the cases he mentioned in his book were verified and confirmed – namely, that upon a person’s death existence does not cease, but on the contrary the soul continues to hear, to think and to feel…….If you want the stimulus of unexplained phenomena and a theory to fit them and cause you to think, this provocative book should fit the bill.
I spent an entire day at Hampton Court Palace on a visit to England a few years ago. I visited the passage where the haunting which I mentioned takes place, and asked two police officers who were rostered to work the night shift at the palace about the veracity of this story. I expected a flippant answer with words like “Do not believe everything you read” “We have never seen anything” even “Poppycock !” – in fact any answer in the negative. Their reply to my question really gave me food for thought. – Quote ” We have seen this spectre so many times that we dont take notice anymore !!”. The world knows that Queen Ann Boleyn the second wife of King Henry the 8th sometimes walks the Tower of London. There have also been sightings of the luckless Queen in the gardens of her childhood home, Hever Castle in Kent on the anniversary of her death. Sightings which have been well documented. I was asked if there were any hauntings on Stellenberg estate. I never ventured to ask anybody . This was the last subject I wished to discuss as I felt it was too sensitive. Most estate folk are very superstitious and I did not wish to open the floodgates because by this time I was drained of all emotional energy.
But who knows ? Perhaps in the dead of night when the world sleeps, on this lonely estate one still hears the plaintive voices of the protagonists of this murder, mingled with the howling wind as they in a ghostly re-enactment play out the tragic events of that dreadful night seventy seven years ago……The night has a thousand eyes…..
I remember seeing a tombstone in a small cemetery not far from Balangoda many years ago. It read “Sacred to the memory of Mr.H.G.Ross – fatally shot at Galbodda Estate Ratnapura in May 1937”. My attempts to obtain information on this murder always drew a blank.
In conclusion, my heartfelt thanks are due to the following, without whose help writing this article would have proved an uphill task :
Old Anthonian Sebastian Retty and his wife for their hospitality, specially to Sebastian for taking time off despite a busy work schedule to take me to Stellenberg Estate and help me in my inquiries there.
Victor Melder for providing me with relevant information from his well stocked library which filled in many blanks, thus making my task easier.
Norman Thompson, whose geographical knowledge of the tea plantations of Ceylon is phenomenal. He shared this knowledge with me not once, but many times before.
To them I owe a debt of gratitude.
TWO PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SUPERINTENDENTS BUNGALOW ON STELLENBERG ESTATE.
THE SPOT WHERE MR.GEORGE POPE WAS MURDERED. NOTE THE CURVE IN THE ROAD WHICH CAUSED HIM TO SLOW DOWN.