On Wednesday, it was announced that Ajay Banga, an Indian-American and former CEO of Mastercard, has been appointed as the World Bank’s 14th president. The appointment was confirmed by a 25-member executive board following a selection process agreed by shareholders in 2011. Banga’s term will begin on June 2 and last for the next five years.
A Change Maker
According to sources cited by Reuters, Ajay Banga had impressed shareholders in recent weeks as a “true change-maker” who will help accelerate reforms at the global development bank. The World Bank is under pressure to increase its lending to help developing countries address global challenges such as climate change and conflict.
Ajay Banga Background
Ajay Banga, who is 63 years old, was born in India and spent his early career there. He has been a U.S. citizen since 2007 and most recently served as Vice Chairman at General Atlantic. Banga is a finance and development expert and served as Honorary Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce from 2020-2022. He was the sole contender to replace departing World Bank chief David Malpass, an economist and former US Treasury official during the Trump administration.
Padma Shri Award Winner
Banga received India’s third-highest civilian award, the Padma Shri, in 2016. US President Joe Biden nominated him for the post in late February. According to Reuters, Ajay Banga has met with officials from 96 governments since his nomination and visited eight countries during a three-week world tour to meet with government officials, business leaders and civil society groups, flying a total of 39,546 miles.
Roles and Responsibilities
As President of the World Bank Group, Ajay Banga will also chair the Board of Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). He will also be the ex officio chair of the Board of Directors of the International Development Association (IDA) and a few other international boards. Americans have led the World Bank since its establishment at the end of World War II. Banga’s appointment marks a historic change and brings new perspectives to the global development bank.