Ajay Banga: Who is Ajay Banga, the Indian-American nominated by Joe Biden to lead the World Bank?

US President Joe Biden on Thursday nominated former Mastercard Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga to lead World Bank.

While making the announcement, Biden singled out Banga’s experience mobilising public-private resources to tackle urgent challenges such as climate change at a range of organisations.

He is the first Indian-born nominee to the World Bank president role.

Banga’s nomination is the first to be made public, but the bank will accept nominations from other member countries through March 29. Germany, another major shareholder, this week said the job should go to a woman since the bank has never been headed by a woman in its 77-year history.

Here’s everything you need to know about Biden’s pick to lead the international financial institution:

Born in Pune, Banga completed his bachelor’s degree in economics from Delhi’s St. Stephen’s College before pursuing an MBA degree from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. The 63-year old started his career with Nestle in India and went on to work with the Citigroup in India and Malaysia.

Banga has more than 30 years of business experience, having served in various roles at Mastercard and the boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods and Dow Inc. He retired in December 2021 after 12 years at the helm of Mastercard Inc, where he set a target of bringing 1 billion people and 50 million micro- and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025.As Mastercard CEO, Banga, who took charge of the company just after the 2008-09 financial crisis, saw the payment processor’s revenue triple as online shopping gained prominence around the world.

Banga, now a US citizen, currently serves as vice chair of General Atlantic, a U.S. private equity firm. He also serves as co-chair of the Partnership for Central America, where he worked closely with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris to mobilise public, private and non-profit resources for Northern Central America.

He is also a member of the Trilateral Commission, a founding trustee of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, a former member of the National Committee on US-China Relations, and Chairman Emeritus of the American India Foundation.

The 63-year-old, who is a son of an army general, is a co-founder of The Cyber Readiness Institute, Vice Chair of the Economic Club of New York and served as a member of President Barack Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. He is a past member of the US President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

In 2016, Banga was honored with the Padma Shri Award by the President of India. He was named the Empower Ethnic Minority Role Model, received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and was ranked amongst the top 10 best-performing CEOs in the world by Harvard Business Review in 2019. He was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2012, and the Distinguished Friends of Singapore Public Service Star in 2021.

Banga also featured in Fortune’s list of the World’s Leading Businesspersons and received the Leadership Award from the Business Council for International Understanding.

In 2019, the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence named Ajay Banga as ‘Global Indian of the Year’.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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