The United States has nominated Indian-American Ajay Banga, former Mastercard CEO, as the World Bank president, US President Joe Biden has said. The decision comes after World Bank's current chief David Malpass announced early retirement from the top position. The process of accepting candidate nominations will go on until March 29, 2023, following which the chief of the international financial institution will be announced.
The White House, in an official statement, said US President Joe Biden announced 63-year-old Ajay Banga's nomination on Thursday, calling him a business leader with extensive experience and the one who has led successful organisations in developing countries and forged public-private partnerships to address financial inclusion and climate change.
“Ajay is uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history. He has spent more than three decades building and managing successful, global companies that create jobs and bring investment to developing economies, and guiding organisations through periods of fundamental change. He has a proven track record in managing people and systems, and partnering with global leaders around the world to deliver results," said Biden.
He added that Banga has critical experience in "mobilising public-private resources" to tackle the most urgent challenges, including climate change. "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,” said the US President.
US Vice-President Kamala Harris said since she was elected Vice President, Ajay and she worked closely together on a new model of public-private partnership designed to address the root causes of migration in Northern Central America. "Through that partnership, nearly 50 businesses and organizations have mobilized to generate more than $4.2 billion in commitments that will create opportunity and hope for people in the region."
In his current capacity, Banga serves as Vice Chairman at US-based growth equity firm General Atlantic. Previously, he was President and CEO of Mastercard, a company that he led through a strategic, technological and cultural transformation.
Banga completed his B.A. in economics from Delhi University and did his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Banga joined as Mastercard's COO and president in August 2009, following which he was appointed as president and CEO of the company in July 2010. Before that, he worked with Citigroup’s Asia-Pacific Region as its CEO. He joined the company in 1996 and worked in a variety of positions. Prior to that, Banga was with FMCG giant Nestle's India unit and global multinational company Pepsico.
Ajay brings with him vast experience of being a global leader in technology, data, financial services and innovation for inclusion. He is also the honorary chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, serving as chairman from 2020-2022, and chairman of Exor and independent director at Temasek. He became an advisor to General Atlantic’s climate-focused fund, BeyondNetZero, at its inception in 2021. Previously, he served on the Boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods and Dow Inc.
Apart from working closely with US Vice President, Banga is also serving as a member of the Trilateral Commission, a founding trustee of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, a former member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and Chairman Emeritus of the American India Foundation.
Additionally, he's also a co-founder of The Cyber Readiness Institute, Vice Chair of the Economic Club of New York and has served as a member of President Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. He is also a past member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.
Ajay was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2012, the Padma Shri Award by the President of India in 2016, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Business Council for International Understanding’s Global Leadership Award in 2019, and the Distinguished Friends of Singapore Public Service Star in 2021.