Washington, February 23
President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the United States will nominate Ajay Banga to head the World Bank, saying the Indian-American business leader is uniquely suited to lead the global institution at “this critical moment in history.”
If confirmed by the World Bank Board of Directors, Banka will be the first Indian-American and Sikh-American to head one of the two major international financial institutions, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Banga, 63, currently serves as a vice president at General Atlantic. Previously, he was Chairman and CEO of MasterCard, leading the company through strategic, technological and cultural transformation. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2016.
“Ajayi is uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this important moment in history,” President Biden said in a statement.
“He has spent more than three decades building and running successful global companies that create jobs and attract investment to developing economies, and lead companies in times of fundamental change,” Biden said.
Banka has a proven track record of managing people and organizations and delivering results by partnering with world leaders around the globe, he said.
“He also has significant experience in mobilizing public-private resources to address the most pressing challenges of our time, including climate change,” the US president said.
Raised in India, Banga 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, he added.
The White House said Banga is a business leader with extensive experience running successful companies in developing countries and building public-private partnerships to address financial inclusion and climate change.
During his career, Banka has become a global leader in innovation for technology, data, financial services and inclusion, according to the White House.
He is an honorary president of the International Chamber of Commerce and served as its president from 2020 to 2022. He is president of Exor and an independent director of Temasek. He started in 2021 as an advisor to General Atlantic’s climate-focused fund, BeyondNetZero.
He previously served on the boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods, and Dow Inc. Ajay has worked closely with Vice President Kamala Harris as co-director for Central America.
He is a member of the Trilateral Commission, a founding trustee of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, a former member of the US-China Relations National Committee, and Chairman Emeritus of the American India Foundation.
Banga is a co-founder of The Cyber Readiness Institute, vice president of the Economic Club of New York, and served as a member of President Barack Obama’s Commission on Advancing Homeland Cyber Security. He is a former member of the US President’s Advisory Council on Trade Policy and Negotiations.
He received the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2012, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Business Council for International Understanding Global Leadership Award, a Distinguished Friends of Singapore Public Service Star in 2021.