World Bank New President Nominee: Ajay Banga, ex-Mastercard CEO, was tapped by US President Biden to lead the World Bank. Biden said that the Indian- American leader was an ideal choice to lead the global institution, given the unique geopolitical situations. Banga currently serves as Vice Chairman of General Atlantic. Through the years, Banga has had an illustrious career. “He has spent more than three decades building and managing successful, global companies that create jobs and bring investment to developing economies, and guiding organizations through periods of fundamental change,” Biden said. Here’s a look into the life and career of the business executive.
- Banga was born to army officer Harbhajan Singh Banga, who retired as a lieutenant-general of the Indian army. Even though his family’s roots are from Jalandhar, Punjab, Banga grew up in Khadki, Pune where his father was posted. The ex-Mastercard CEO’s family also boasts of another famous CEO, M S Banga, who is Ajay Banga’s brother.
- Ajay Banga studied economics at St Stephen’s College, Delhi University, and completed his further education from the famed Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
- As the world recognised his talent, India, too, honored Banga. In 2016, the Indian government awarded Banga with a Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honor.
- Banga started his career in India, spending 13 years at Nestle
India, and two at Pepsico. Following this, in 1996, he joined Citigroup where he climbed the corporate ladder to lead the Asia-Pacific region as CEO.
- He retired in December 2021 after 12 years at the helm of Mastercard, where administration officials noted that he helped 500 million unbanked people join the digital economy, averted layoffs of the bank’s 19,000 employees during the Covid-19 pandemic, and led work on climate, gender, and sustainable agriculture.
- Previously the COO, in April 2010, Mastercard announced that Ajay Banga would lead the firm as president and CEO. The previous CEO, Robert W. Selander had led the firm since March 1997.
- Despite retiring in 2021, Banga chose to join General Atlantic, a private equity firm, in the capacity of vice chairman. His focus is primarily on General Atlantic’s climate-focused fund, BeyondNetZero.
- Other than his incredible career, Banga has found himself in a series of positions that help advance technology, financial services and constant innovation. Among his various accolades:
- Worked with US VP Kamala Harris as Co-Chair of the Partnership for Central America,
- Member of the Trilateral Commission,
- Founding trustee of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum,
- Former member of the National Committee on US-China Relations,
- Chairman Emeritus of the American India Foundation.
- Honorary chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, after serving as chairman from 2020-2022.
- He previously worked with President Obama, who appointed Banga to serve as a member of the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations in 2015.
Ajay Banga is the first Indian-born nominee for the World Bank presidency. President Biden, in his statement, added that Banga “has critical experience mobilising public-private resources to tackle the most urgent challenges of our time, including climate change.” Furthermore, on climate change, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Banga’s experience “will help him achieve the World Bank’s objectives of eliminating extreme poverty and expanding shared prosperity while pursuing the changes needed to effectively evolve the institution.”