Mastercard gets new CEO in Michael Miebach as Ajay Banga dons new role as executive chairman

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February 25, 2020 9:25 PM

Banga credited Miebach for being a key architect of Mastercard's multi-rail strategy–including leading the acquisition of Vocalink and the pending transaction with Nets–to address a broader set of payment flows.

Banga credited Miebach for being a key architect of Mastercard’s multi-rail strategy (Image: Reuters)

Mastercard’s Indian-American President and Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga will step down from his role and assume charge as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, as the payments giant announced Michael Miebach as the new CEO. The company said in a statement that Banga will become Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors effective January 1, 2021. Miebach, currently the Chief Product Officer, will become Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors on January 1, 2021 and, as part of the transition, to become President March 1 this year.

The Board unanimously elected Miebach to his new role. As President of the company, Miebach will oversee the sales, marketing, products, services and technology organizations.  Banga, 60, who had been Mastercard’s CEO for 10 years, said it has been a “privilege” to be a part of Mastercard’s transformation as a company.

“Thanks to the efforts of the entire leadership team, we are well-positioned for future success as we continue to embrace emerging and new technologies, making every device a device of commerce.”  The Indian-born top executive said the company has built a growth-oriented mindset and operated with a sense of urgency, delivering a 13 per cent compound annual revenue growth from 2009 through 2019.

Banga further added that as Mastercard moves into the next phase of growth, “we have a deep leadership bench–with Michael at the helm–to take us to the next level.”  Banga is among the small and growing group of Indian-Americans at the helm of US and global multi-national giants. Last month Indian-origin technology executive Arvind Krishna was named Chief Executive Officer of American IT giant IBM after a “world-class succession process.”

Krishna joined the club that includes Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, PepsiCo’s former CEO Indra Nooyi and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen. Banga said Miebach has a proven track record of building products and running businesses globally and over his career, he has held leadership positions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and in the US across payments, data, banking services and technology.

Banga credited Miebach for being a key architect of Mastercard’s multi-rail strategy–including leading the acquisition of Vocalink and the pending transaction with Nets–to address a broader set of payment flows.  “He’s also a visionary who kickstarted much of the work behind our financial inclusion journey. I am excited to continue working closely with Michael and supporting Mastercard’s success when I become Executive Chairman,” Banga said.

Miebach said Mastercard has outstanding people, leading technology and tremendous potential and added that he is honored to have the opportunity to lead the company with a team by his side that is second to none.  Mastercard’s current Chairman, Richard Haythornthwaite, will retire from the Board after more than a decade of exceptional service when Banga assumes the role of Executive Chairman.

Haythornthwaite expressed gratitude to Banga for his “outstanding leadership and commitment” to Mastercard.
“We will continue to benefit from his experience and expertise,” he said adding that Banga has led the strategic and cultural transformation that has enabled the company to thrive.

Current Board member, Merit Janow, Dean of the faculty of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), was unanimously elected by the Board to become Lead Independent Director on January 1, 2021. She will continue to serve as Chair of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee when Haythornthwaite retires.

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