US President Joe Biden has proposed former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga to succeed Donald Trump’s choice David Malpass as president of the World Bank.
He is the first India-born candidate for the position of president of the World Bank. According to Joe Biden, Ajay Banga is the only person right now. Joe Biden stated that Ajay Banga showed confidence in his ability to manage the World Bank.
Leading figures worldwide, including US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IMF director Kristalina Georgieva, have praised the selection of Indian-American Ajay Banga for running the World Bank.
According to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who applauded the choice, she said Banga has the necessary leadership and managerial abilities, experience in developing economies, and financial competence to lead the World Bank at a crucial juncture in its history.
Who is Ajay Banga?
Ajay Banga served as the CEO of Mastercard from 2010 to 2021. He is an Indian-American business executive. He was born in Pune, India, on April 17, 1960, and grew up in Delhi.
Banga attended Delhi University, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in economics. He later attended the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, where he received a post-graduate diploma in management. In 1984, he moved to the United States to pursue an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Banga began his career at Nestle in India before moving to PepsiCo. He held several leadership positions, including CEO of PepsiCo’s operations in Mexico and president of PepsiCo’s Asia-Pacific region.
In 2009, Banga joined Mastercard as the company’s president and chief operating officer. He became CEO the following year, succeeding Robert W. Selander. During his tenure as CEO, Banga led Mastercard through significant growth, overseeing the company’s expansion into new markets and the development of new payment technologies.
Why did Joe Biden select Ajay Banga?
The Biden administration has chosen Banga to ensure that climate change is given utmost attention while assisting emerging markets and underdeveloped countries. Banga has made a lot of noise about the consequences of climate change.
US President Biden said in a statement,
“Ajay Banga is uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history,”
He added that,
“Banga has critical experience mobilizing public-private resources to tackle the most urgent challenges of our time, including climate change.”
Biden noted that Banga also had critical experience mobilising public-private resources to tackle the most urgent challenges of these time, including climate change. Biden said,
“Raised in India, Ajay has a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing developing countries and how the World Bank can deliver on its ambitious agenda to reduce poverty and expand prosperity.”
Also, Banga has prior experience working for the US government with the Obama administration and cooperated with US Vice President Kamala Harris to mobilise funding for Northern Central America, as mentioned above.
Joe Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, said on Twitter that Banga was “the right choice” to lead World Bank.
Ajay Banga is the right choice to take on the responsibilities of @WorldBank at this critical moment. The climate crisis requires new thinking and creative vision regarding finance, so that we can meet the challenge of the energy transition. (1/3)
— Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry (@ClimateEnvoy) February 23, 2023
Ajay Banga is currently working at the private equity firm General Atlantic. Administration officials say he has invested over $800 million in EV charging solutions, solar power, and sustainable farming.
After 12 years at the helm of Mastercard, he retired in December 2021. Ajay Banga helped 500 million unbanked people enter the digital economy during his tenure. He prevented the bank from laying off 19,000 employees during the Covid-19 pandemic. Banga oversaw work on climate change, gender equality, and sustainable agriculture. Administration officials noted these achievements.
He has worked at Mastercard in various capacities for more than 30 years. He has also served on Dow Inc., Kraft Foods, and the American Red Cross boards.
Luis Alberto Moreno worked closely with Banga when he was president of the Inter-American Development Bank. Moreno stated that Banga’s work in India and other emerging markets, his “obsession” with boosting financial inclusion. Moreover, his in-depth familiarity with new technologies might help close the gap between developed nations and emerging markets.
He will preside over the International Chamber of Commerce from 2020 to 2022 as honorary chairman. In addition, he serves as independent director at Temasek and chairman of Exor.
As Co-Chair of the Partnership for Central America, Banga has collaborated closely with Vice President Kamala Harris. Banga is a member of the Trilateral Commission. Ajay is a founding trustee of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum. He is also a former member of the National Committee on US-China Relations. Additionally, he is also the Chairman Emeritus of the American India Foundation.
Ajay served as a member of President Barack Obama’s Commission on Improving National Cybersecurity. He is a co-founder of The Cyber Readiness Institute and vice chair of the Economic Club of New York. He was a member of the US President’s Advisory Council on Trade Policy and Negotiations.
Banga received the Ellis Island Medal of Honour and the Business Council for International Understanding’s Global Leadership Award in 2019. He also received the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2012. In 2021, he received the Foreign Policy Association Medal again, the Business Council for International Understanding’s Global Leadership Award and the Distinguished Friends of Singapore Public Service Star.