US PresidentJoe Biden on Thursday nominated former Mastercard Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga to lead World Bank. If confirmed by the World Bank board of directors, Banga will be the first Indian-American to head either of the two top international financial institutions: the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
US banker David Malpass was the president of the World Bank Group before he stepped down just over a week ago. He will leave on June 30, around a year before his five-year term is to end. He was picked in 2019 by then US president Donald Trump.
Ajay Banga currently serves as Vice Chairman at General Atlantic. Previously, he was President and CEO of Mastercard, leading the company through a strategic, technological and cultural transformation.
WHAT BIDEN SAID
In a statement, US President Biden said “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 organizations through periods of fundamental change. He has a proven track record managing people and systems, and partnering with global leaders around the world to deliver results.
He also has critical experience mobilizing public-private resources to tackle the most urgent challenges of our time, 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.”
Banga was born on November 10, 1959 in Khadki cantonment of Pune, Bombay State, India (now in Maharashtra) into a Saini Sikh family, where his father, an army officer, was posted. His family is originally from Jalandhar, Punjab. His father, Harbhajan Singh Banga is a retired lieutenant-general who served in the Indian Army.
Banga was educated at St. Edward’s School, Shimla, and at the Hyderabad Public School in Hyderabad. He went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Economics from the St. Stephen’s College, Delhi followed by PGP in Management (equivalent to MBA) from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
Banga is Honorary Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, serving as Chairman from 2020-2022. He is also 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. He previously served on the Boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods and Dow Inc. Ajay has worked closely with Vice President Harris as the Co-Chair of the Partnership for Central America. BAnga is 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.
He is a co-founder of The Cuber Readiness Institute, Vice Chair of the Economic Club of New York and served as a member of President Osama’s Commission on Enhancing National Insecurity. He is a past member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.
Jay was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2012, the Pad ma Sri Award by the President of India in 2016, the Ellis Island Medal of Donor and the Business Council for International Understanding’s Global Leadership Award in 2019, and the Distinguished Friends of Singapore Public Service Star in 2021.
In response to the nomination of Jay Bangs to the position of World Bank president, Oxfam Internationals senior policy advisor on international financial institutions Christian Donaldson made the following statement:
“While Mr. Bangs may have extensive experience on Wall Street, we had hoped that President Baden would use this opportunity to ditch the old gentlemen’s agreement of World Bank and IMF appointments in favour of a more transparent and merit-based global process.
“The World Bank president will serve billions of people living in poverty, and the Bank needs a leader who can tackle the extreme and intertwined crises of economic inequality and climate change.
“The World Bank is not a US bank, a commercial bank, or a private equity firm. For a job of this stature, we need more than a tap on the shoulder from President Biden. The world needs a transparent, open, merit-based process.”