Macquarie Banker Who Earned More Than Jamie Dimon Steps Down

(Bloomberg) — Macquarie Group Ltd.’s powerhouse commodities head Nick O’Kane, who famously earned more than Wall Street chiefs such as JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon and Citigroup Inc.’s Jane Fraser, will step down later this month.

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The 28-year veteran of the firm will resign 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.

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Read More: Macquarie Commodity Trader’s $39 Million Pay Tops Dimon

Simon Wright, currently head of the financial markets unit within commodities and global markets, will replace him and will join the executive committee from April 1. Wright has been with Macquarie for 35 years.

O’Kane was a top performer and well liked both internally and with clients, said Jamie Hannah, deputy head of investments and capital markets at Van Eck in Sydney, who holds Macquarie shares.

“I don’t think the market was expecting his departure,” he said. “Interestingly Macquarie is down nearly 2% today when the banking sector is up. So obviously the market respected his worth.”

The leadership shuffle came as Macquarie said its profit for the nine months ended Dec. 31 was “substantially down” on the previous year. 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 didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by phone and LinkedIn.

Macquarie’s shares fell as much as 4.3%, before paring losses to 1.9% as at 12:11 pm in Sydney.

O’Kane’s division saw earnings fall, primarily due to exceptionally strong results in the previous period, the bank said. 

For more detail from the earnings update, click here 

It was those results that drove the 59% pay boost O’Kane received in the year through March 2023. His renumeration for the period was A$57.6 million ($37.6 million), according to Macquarie’s annual report released last May. In contrast, Chief Executive Officer Wikramanayake received A$32.8 million.

O’Kane’s pay also topped that of the biggest US bank bosses. Citigroup awarded Fraser $24.5 million for 2022, while JPMorgan kept Dimon’s total compensation at $34.5 million for that year.

At the time, Macquarie Chairman Glenn Stevens defended O’Kane’s salary, noting the bank is competing for talent in a global marketplace. 

“This is an exceptional year so it’s not a surprise that there are some exceptional numbers,” Stevens said.

The Sydney-based bank entered the US natural gas market in 2005 with the acquisition of Cook Inlet Energy Supply, and in 2009 acquired Constellation Energy’s downstream natural gas trading platform. O’Kane then built a matrix of leases over gas and energy transmission networks, making Macquarie the most powerful player in the US market, according to The Millionaire’s Factory, a history of Macquarie by Chris Wright and Joyce Moullakis, released last year.

Read More: Texas Deep Freeze Delivers Macquarie $210 Million Windfall 

“It will be interesting to see where he pops up, but he certainly knows the US market well and I imagine knows who is good within Macquarie’s business,” said UBS Group AG analyst John Storey.

–With assistance from Amy Bainbridge.

(adds analyst commentary, updates share price starting from fourth paragraph. An earlier version of the story was corrected.)

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