U.S. President Joe Biden nominated former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga (63) as World Bank president on Thursday. Since all World Bank chiefs have been named among candidates nominated by the U.S. government, the biggest stakeholder in the bank, Banga, will highly likely take the job.
"He has a proven track record managing people and systems, and partnering with global leaders around the world to deliver results," Biden said in a statement. "He has critical experience mobilizing public-private resources to tackle the most urgent challenges of our time, including climate change."
According to the New York Times, Banga is one of the most famous Indian-born corporate executives in the U.S. He led marketing at Nestle and Pepsi Co., before moving to Citi Group in 1996 to serve as Director for the Asia Pacific. He managed Master Card for over 10 years from 2010 to 2021, increasing its operating profit by over three times. He is currently serving as vice chairman of General Atlantic, a private equity fund.
The World Bank was established to provide funding for the reconstruction of countries after the end of World War II. The bank’s next chief will be appointed in May after a month-long review of the candidate. The post is a five-year term, which is renewable once. Incumbent World Bank President David Malpass, who has a remaining term of about one year, on February 15 expressed his intention to resign prematurely after serving the post through end-June. Having been inaugurated in 2019 during the Donald Trump administration, Malpass has been pressured to resign under the Biden administration, as he has effectively denied fossil fuel’s impact on climate change.
Some watchers criticize President Biden’s nomination of another male candidate because the World Bank has never had a female chief in its 78-year history. The World Bank’s Board of Trustees said on the day, “We strongly demand nomination of a female candidate,” but President Biden nominated a male candidate hours later.