President Joe Biden has announced that he’s nominating Ajay Banga, a former MasterCard executive, to serve as president of the World Bank.
In a statement, Biden said that Banga is “uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history” and that he has a “proven track record managing people and systems, and partnering with global leaders around the world to deliver results.”
Banga has been the vice chairman at General Atlantic, a New York-based investment firm, since 2022. Prior to that, the 63-year-old was the CEO of MasterCard from 2010 to 2021.
“Raised in India, Ajay has a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing developing countries and how the World Bank can deliver on its ambitious agenda to reduce poverty and expand prosperity,’ Biden said in the statement. Notably, the White House highlighted Banga’s “extensive experience” in creating partnerships to address climate change and financial inclusion,” something Biden pledged would be an important qualification for the next World Bank President.
Banga would replace previous president David Malpass, who announced last week that he’s stepping down a year early — serving four years of a five-year term.
Although Malpass had been praised by the World Bank and administration officials for his handling of the global challenges posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic, his tenure faced controversy following comments he made last September about climate change. During a panel, herefused to confirm during a climate panel whether he accepted the scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels were dangerously warming the planet.
After an outpouring of criticism, many opponents called for his resignation. However, he recently told CNN’s Julia Chatterley that he has “no regrets” over his four-year tenure.
“We’ve achieved many of the things I wanted to…I think it’s really important that institutions have energy, new energy, and this is a good time for the World Bank to do that,” he said.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen praised the decision to name Banga in a statement.
“He has the right leadership and management skills, experience living and working in emerging markets, and financial expertise to lead the World Bank at a critical moment in its history, deliver on its core development goals, and evolve the Bank to meet global challenges like climate change,” she said.
US climate envoy John Kerry said Banga is the “right choice” because of his climate change credentials.
Banga “has proven his ability as a manager of large institutions and understands investment and the mobilization of capital to power the green transition,” Kerry said in a statement.
The World Bank, a group of 187 nations, lends money to developing countries to help reduce poverty. Former US President Donald Trump appointed Malpass as World Bank chief in 2019 for a five-year period. As the largest shareholder, the United States traditionally appoints its president.
— CNN’s Sam Fossum contributed to this report.