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Global leaders welcome nomination of Ajay Banga as World Bank president

Political leaders and industry captains on February 24 hailed Indian American Ajay Banga’s nomination as World Bank president, saying he is an inspired choice and a phenomenal addition to the list of Indian-origin leaders at the helm of globally impactful organisations.

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced that the U.S. is nominating Mr. Banga to lead the World Bank, saying the business leader is uniquely equipped to lead the global institution at “this critical moment in history”.

Applauding the decision, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Banga has the right leadership and management skills, experience in emerging markets, and financial expertise to lead the World Bank at a critical moment in its history.

In a tweet, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, IMF said, “Happy to hear that Ajay Banga, who I have known for many yrs, has been nominated as a candidate to lead World Bank. His exec leadership skills & drive for innovation are well known. But even more so I admire his commitment to sustainable devt, to do good & help those most in need”.

Mr. Banga, 63, currently serves as Vice Chairman at General Atlantic. Previously, he was President and CEO of Mastercard, leading the company through a strategic, technological and cultural transformation. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2016.

Michael Miebach, CEO Mastercard said Mr. Banga is an inspired choice to lead the World Bank.

“He’s a mentor, friend and first-rate leader who has worked tirelessly to bring hundreds of millions of people around the world into the digital economy. He’s a person of great intellect and character, and we wish him every success in the confirmation process and beyond,” he tweeted.

Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce recalled that Banga, during his stint as CEO of MasterCard, displayed his amazing leadership and always served all stakeholders.

“As a member of the B Team, he motivated other CEOs to always do the right thing! Congrats Ajay!” he said in a tweet.

Mike Bloomberg, entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of Bloomberg News said it was great to see Mr. Banga nominated to lead the World Bank.

“He was a strong partner for our administration in city hall and we’ve teamed up on other issues since. I’m looking forward to working with him on climate change and other crucial global development challenges,” he said.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CEO, Biocon, termed the nomination as a great choice.

Kunal Bahl, Entrepreneur-Investor, Co-founder of Titan Capital, said this would be another phenomenal addition to the list of Indian origin leaders at the helm of globally impactful organisations. Whether it leads to hard benefits for India will be seen, but there is no question about the soft power it brings to the country.

Lauding Mr. Banga’s work ethic and expertise in global finance, John Chambers, Chairman Emeritus, CISCO said he was confident that he is the right person for the job.

Derek O’Brien, Spokesperson, Trinamool Congress tweeted, “What a champion you are, Ajay Banga…From Kolkata Branch Manager of @Nestle dreaming up the Maggi Quizzes three decades ago, to this!”

Over the course of his career, Mr. Banga has become a global leader in technology, data, financial services and innovating for inclusion. He is the honorary chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, serving as chairman from 2020-2022. He is also chairman of Exor and independent director at Temasek.

He became an advisor to General Atlantic’s climate-focused fund, BeyondNetZero, at its inception in 2021. He previously served on the Boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods and Dow Inc.

Mr. Banga, who has worked closely with Vice President Kamala Harris as the Co-Chair of the Partnership for Central America, is a member of the Trilateral Commission, a founding trustee of the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, a former member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and Chairman Emeritus of the American India Foundation.

He is a co-founder of The Cyber Readiness Institute, Vice Chair of the Economic Club of New York and served as a member of President Barack Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. He is a past member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

He was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2012, the Ellis Island Medal of Honour and the Business Council for International Understanding’s Global Leadership Award in 2019, and the Distinguished Friends of Singapore Public Service Star in 2021.

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