New Head of World Bank: 7 things to know About Ajay Banga
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Profiles - July 17, 2023

New Head of World Bank: 7 Things to Know About Ajay Banga

Ajay Banga, President of the World Bank Group, is a prominent and accomplished figure in the world of finance and international business. 

Banga’s diverse and impressive background earned him an appointment as the new head of the World Bank, a highly influential international financial institution dedicated to reducing global poverty and promoting sustainable development. 

Let’s take a look at seven essential things about the new World Bank head.

He started as Management Trainee with Nestle

Ajay began his business career with Nestle in 1981. He was employed as a management trainee where he spent 13 years working in sales, marketing and general management. Those days formed the foundation of his business career.

Banga reorganised Citigroup’s Asian operations

After working at Nestle, he moved to PepsiCo before joining Citigroup. At Citigroup, he served as a debt collector and led CitiFinancial and the US Consumer Assets division from 2000 to 2002. 

Banga also reorganised Citigroup’s Asian operations in 2008 when he was chief executive of the bank’s Asia-Pacific business. The reorganisation gave regional heads increased authority across the bank’s product lines. The group was proud of his exploits and compensated him with $10 million.

He tripled revenues at Mastercard

From Citigroup, Banga moved to Mastercard, the second-largest payment processing corporation worldwide. He took over the reins of leadership and tripled revenues, increased net income sixfold, and grew market capitalization from under $30 billion to above  $300 billion.

According to reports, Banga launched Mastercard’s pledge to plant 100 million trees. He also announced the creation of the Priceless Planet Coalition.

He has been an outside adviser for US VP Kamala Harris

Banga has been an outside adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris as chairman of the Partnership for Central America. He had led a group of business leaders who have advised her on the administration’s work in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Congratulating him on his new role, Kamala wrote, “Ajay has been an incredible partner in our work in Central America, helping to deliver hope and opportunity on the ground. I look forward to our continued work together.”

He is the first Indian-born to occupy this role

Banga was born to Indian parents in the Khadki cantonment of Pune, Maharashtra, India. He acquired most of his education in India, before becoming a US citizen in 2007.

Reacting to his nomination, Sanjeev Joshipura, Indiaspora’s Executive Director said, “As the first Indian-born nominee to this role, Banga brings a lived understanding of the challenges faced by developing nations.”

Banga served as chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) 

The World Bank Chief also succeeded Paul Polman as ICC Chair. He was elected during the ICC World Council. 

Taking up the role, he said, “I intend to build on the work underway at ICC and to ensure that the organisation, on behalf of business globally, continues to lead in promoting greater prosperity and opportunity for all, which includes being a crucial voice in the re-building of a sustainable and inclusive global economy.” 

He has over three decades of experience building and managing successful, global companies

Speaking about Ajay’s experience, US President, Joe 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.”

Biden also noted that Ajay 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.”

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