She takes over from interim president and CEO Phil Evans, who stepped in to fill the role of departed long-time leader David Loechner.
Shankland has previously served as CEO of UBM Americas, where she oversaw the $972m acquisition of Advanstar, and merged six divisions across North/South America into one unified platform.
Kosty Gilis, chairman of Emerald, commented: ”Sally’s experience, skills and approach are a perfect match with the Board’s requirements for the Emerald CEO position; and, after conducting a thorough search over the last seven months, I am thrilled to have her accept the position.
“Sally has achieved remarkable success in her career by bringing inspirational leadership, purposeful strategies and strong execution skills to businesses with unmet potential.
“The Board and I have been particularly impressed by her success in driving growth and capturing new opportunities by harnessing data, technology, and a strong and persistent focus on customer satisfaction.”
Shankland commented: “I recently joined the Emerald Board as a non-executive director and quickly realized that I could apply my leadership principles, experience and skills to improve the company’s financial performance and growth prospects.
“Emerald owns some great assets that are extremely relevant in their markets and, I believe, have significant opportunity available to them. I’m very excited about the opportunity to lead the business.”