Biden names Ajay Banga as US nomination to lead the World Bank

Ajay Banga

US President Joe Biden has chosen corporate leader Ajay Banga, vice chairman of General Atlantic and former President and CEO of MasterCard, to be the World Bank’s next president. The nomination comes at a critical juncture in the Bank’s ambitious internal reform.

Banga will be the first person of Indian descent to lead the World Bank, subject to confirmation by the Bank’s executive board.

In a statement on Wednesday, Biden said that Banga was “uniquely equipped” to lead the Bank at this critical moment. “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.”

Banga will take over the Bank as it develops an evolution plan to reposition its “mission, operation, and resources” to better address contemporary issues, particularly the climate crisis. His involvement in the private sector is believed to be beneficial at a time when generating funds to assist countries in dealing with the climate transition is set to become one of the Bank’s major tasks. Banga’s previous corporate jobs indicate his dedication to combating the climate catastrophe, which stands in stark contrast to David Malpass, a Donald Trump nominee who resigned as the Bank’s president earlier this month.

Banga is a language with deep roots in India. Born in 1959 in Pune to an Indian military family (his father retired as a lieutenant general in the army), Banga attended St. Stephens’ College in Delhi University and the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. He began his career at Nestle in 1981, then relocated to India to work for PepsiCo before returning to the United States in 2000 to work for Citigroup in New York. His brother, MS Banga, is a well-known corporate leader who served as chairman and CEO of Hindustan Lever.

As a past chairman of the US-India Business Council, a founding trustee of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), and chairman emeritus of the American India Foundation, Banga has been deeply active in improving the India-US connection. In 2016, the Indian government bestowed the Padma Shri honour upon him. Banga has maintained tight ties with India’s top leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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