Women of the ASX

While gender equity in the workplace has made significant strides in recent decades, the leadership makeup of some of Australia’s biggest businesses shows us that the work is not done yet. Of Australia’s top 200 companies on the ASX, only 19 are led by female Chief Executive Officers – less than 10%. Out of those, 11 were only appointed to their roles in the last four years.  

Here are the women who have broken through the glass ceiling to rise to the top of their fields, including Harvey Norman’s Katie Page, Qantas’ Vanessa Hudson, and Xero’s Sukhinder Singh Cassidy. 

This article was featured in Issue 11 of Forbes Australia. Tap here to secure your copy.


MARKET SECTOR:  Financial services  

MARKET CAP: $2.91B  

George was appointed CEO of AMP Limited back in August 2021.  
George has a wealth of experience in the financial services industry, having spent almost eight years at ANZ. 


MARKET SECTOR: Financial services  

MARKET CAP: $12.26B  

Lofthouse has been at the ASX since 2015 and took on the CEO role in 2022. She has also worked at UBS and J.P Morgan and was named one of the World Federation Exchanges’ (WFE) Women Leaders of 2021.  

LEAH WECKERT: Coles Group Ltd

MARKET SECTOR: Consumer   

MARKET CAP: $22.10B  

Having been with Coles since 2011 and worked across multiple senior roles, Weckert took on the CEO role in May last year. She holds a Master’s degree from Harvard Business School and is a member of Chief Executive Women. 


MARKET SECTOR: Basic materials  

MARKET CAP: $4.26B  

Coates, an alumnus of Woolies and Goodman Fielder, joined CSR in 2019 and was appointed CEO. She has earned praise for her “quiet effectiveness” in restructuring the company’s operations and supply chain.  


MARKET SECTOR: Communications 

MARKET CAP: $1.91B  

Hastings has been CEO of EVT since 2017, where she previously worked as the COO. Hastings is a veteran in the entertainment and hospitality sector, holding several previous senior roles at APN News & Media.  

KATIE PAGE: Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd
27/11/2018: Harvey Norman CEO Katie Page following the Harvey Norman AGM in Sydney. Pic by James Croucher


MARKET CAP: $5.60B  

The wife of Harvey Norman co-founder Gerry Harvey, Page has been involved with Harvey Norman for over 30 years and has overseen the opening of more than 220 stores across multiple countries.   


MARKET SECTOR: Financial services  

MARKET CAP: $1.23B  

Blight-Johnston became CEO and managing director of Helia Group in March 2020. In 2023, Helia achieved gender pay equity Ð making it one of the few financial services businesses that has been able to do so. 

CARRIE HURIHANGANUI: Auckland International Airport Ltd

MARKET SECTOR: Industrials  

MARKET CAP: $10.52B  

With two decades of experience in the aviation industry, Hurihanganui took the helm at Auckland Airport in 2022. Her previous roles include COO at Air New Zealand and executive general manager of customer experience at NAB.  

MARNIE BAKER: Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd

MARKET SECTOR: Financial services  

MARKET CAP: $6.31B  

Baker has been the CEO of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank for over five years. With more than three decades of experience to back her up, the CEO also has a strong connection with regional Australia that informs her leadership style. 



MARKET CAP: $4.41B  

O’Shannessy was appointed Idp’s CEO last year after earning previous chief executive experience at e-commerce retailer Adore Beauty. Idp cited her experience in building businesses with customer-centric approaches at the time of her appointment.  

Lynas Rare Earths staff, Perth. Photos Stewart Allen.

MARKET SECTOR: Basic materials  

MARKET CAP: $6.29B  

Lacaze has been the CEO of Lynas for a decade now, the world’s second-largest producer of separated Rare Earth materials. The AFR has previously named her one of the 10 most powerful corporate leaders in 2019.  


MARKET SECTOR: Financial services  

MARKET CAP: $73.61B  

Beginning her time at Macquarie in 1987, Wikramanayake has worked across multiple  roles and countries in her time at the company. She was appointed CEO of the Macquarie Group in 2018.  

VANESSA HUDSON: Qantas Airways Ltd

MARKET SECTOR: Industrials  

MARKET CAP: $9.94B  

Hudson joined Qantas in 1994 and has held multiple senior roles within the company.  
The CEO had big shoes to step into, succeeding Alan Joyce as chief executive in 2023 amid  
a turbulent time for the airline post-pandemic. 

JOLIE HODSON: Spark New Zealand Ltd

MARKET SECTOR: Communications 


Hodson had worked across multiple different areas within Spark before she was appointed CEO in 2019. Hodson leads with strong values of diversity and inclusion and is a Global Women and Champions for Change member.  

VICKI BRADY: Telstra Group Ltd 

MARKET SECTOR: Communications 

MARKET CAP: $40.09B  

Brady became the CEO and Managing Director of Telstra in 2022 after joining the company in 2016. She has been leading Telstra’s T25 strategy, which aims to deliver sustainable growth for the company and shareholders.

SUSAN VAN DER MERWE: The Lottery Corporation Ltd
Tabcorp relaxed photo shoot. May 10, 2022.


MARKET CAP: $10.95B  

Van der Merwe was appointed as The Lottery Corporation’s CEO after the company demerged from Tabcorp Holdings in 2022. She held several senior positions within Tabcorp and has worked in the lottery industry for over three decades. 

MICHELLE JABLKO: Transurban Group

MARKET SECTOR: Industrials  

MARKET CAP: $39.93B  

In late 2023, Jablko was appointed CEO of the Transurban Group, making her the newest chief executive on this list. Before her career at Transurban, she held the role of CFO at ANZ and has significant experience working in investment banking. 

MEG O’NEILL: Woodside Energy Group Ltd


MARKET CAP: $52.03B  

O’Neill was appointed CEO of Woodside in 2021. In her time there she has made her hopes for the global energy transition away from fossil fuels a priority, renaming the company from Woodside Petroleum to Woodside Energy. 



MARKET CAP: $20.45B  

Xero is the ASX’s second-largest tech company, and Singh Cassidy has been at  
its helm since 2022. She is a tech veteran and has worked at companies such as Google, Newscorp, and Amazon.  

These women are also making their mark on Australia’s biggest companies.

(although not technically the CEOs of the ASX-listed entities).  

ANTONIA WATSON: ANZ Group Holdings Ltd: CEO of ANZ Bank NZ Ltd.   

MARKET SECTOR: Financial services  

MARKET CAP: $85.95B  

Watson has led ANZ’s New Zealand operations for the last five years. Before that, she has decades of experience under her belt in the financial services sector, working in the UK, Australia, and Hungary. 

CARMEL MONAGHAN: Ramsay Health Care Ltd: CEO of Ramsay Australia

MARKET SECTOR: Healthcare  

MARKET CAP: $10.8B  

From a PR and media background, Monaghan has been with Ramsay Health Care for over 20 years. She became the CEO of Ramsay Health Care’s Australian operations in 2020. 

KATE THORLEY – WAM Capital Ltd: CEO of Wilson Asset Management International Pty Ltd

MARKET SECTOR: Financial services  

MARKET CAP: $1.62B  

Thorley is the CEO of Wilson Asset Management. She has decades of experience in funds management, financial accounting, and corporate governance.  

SHELLEY BEASLEY: Webjet Ltd: Global COO and CEO of the B2C division


MARKET CAP: $3.45B  

As global COO of Webjet, Beasley is responsible for maintaining the company’s security and operational infrastructure. She is also the CEO of the Group’s B2C (Business-to-Consumer) division.

Are you – or is someone you know -creating the next Afterpay or Canva? Nominations are open for Forbes Australia’s first 30 under 30 list. Entries close midnight, July 15, 2024.

Look back on the week that was with hand-picked articles from Australia and around the world. Sign up to the Forbes Australia newsletter hereor become a member here.

More from Forbes Australia