US President Biden nominates former Mastercard chief Ajay Banga for World Bank president

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Monday, February 27, 2023

Former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee (right) presenting the Padma Shri Award to Banga (left), in New Delhi, India in 2016.
Image: President's Secretariat.

On Thursday, US President Joe Biden nominated Ajay S. Banga to become the next president of the World Bank. The nomination came as the US is increasing pressure on the bank to focus more on climate change issues.

Banga, 63, is an Indian-American businessman. He previously led Mastercard, a large credit card company, as its CEO for more than a decade. After retiring from Mastercard, he joined a private growth equity firm, General Atlantic, as vice chairman.

"Ajay is uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history," Biden said in a statement.

Officials at the World Bank said on Wednesday that they expect to name a new president to replace incumbent President David Malpass by early May.

Malpass announced his resignation earlier this month. His resignation followed prolonged criticism of his opinions on climate change. Reuters reported US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen exerted pressure on Malpass to enact "bolder and more innovative" changes.

Germany, on the other hand, said a woman should head the World Bank since a woman has never headed the institution in its 77 years.

While the nomination of Banga is the first made publicly, the window for World Bank members to submit nominations is open until March 29.