Biden selects ex-Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga for World Bank president
Washington — President Biden will nominate Ajay Banga, the former president and CEO of Mastercard, to serve as president of the World Bank, the White House announced Thursday.
Banga is currently the vice chairman of General Atlantic, a private equity firm, and would succeed David Malpass as head of the World Bank. Malpass was tapped for the post by former President Donald Trump and announced this month his plan to step down on June 30, four years into a five-year term.
The World Bank president has been an American citizen since its founding after World War II, and the U.S. candidate is traditionally chosen to head the bank. The nominee must be confirmed by the World Bank's executive board.
"Ajay is uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history," Mr. Biden said in a statement announcing the nomination. "He has spent more than three decades building and managing successful, global companies that create jobs and bring investment to developing economies, and guiding organizations through periods of fundamental change."
The president said that across Banga's three decades of business experience, he has a "proven track record" of managing large organizations and working alongside leaders worldwide, and Mr. Biden highlighted his experience tapping into public-private resources to tackle pressing issues, including climate change.
"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," Mr. Biden said.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen applauded Banga's nomination, saying in a statement that his leadership and management skills, as well as experience, will help the World Bank evolve to "meet global challenges like climate change."
"While the World Bank will continue to play a key role in improving the lives of people around the globe, it can't do it alone," Yellen said. "Mr. Banga's track record of forging partnerships between the public sector, private sector and non-profits uniquely equips him to help mobilize the private capital and press for the reforms needed to meet our shared ambitions."
The change at the top of the World Bank comes after Malpass faced calls for his ouster after he declined to say in September during a New York Times event whether he believed the burning of fossil fuels is causing the planet to warm, and instead declared "I'm not a scientist."
The comment sparked claims he was a climate-change denier, and Malpass sought to clarify his stance, telling CNN International he is "not a denier" and "it's clear" greenhouse gas emissions are coming from manmade sources, including fossil fuels."
"We're working hard to change that," he said.
In response to Malpass's comments on climate change, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters in late September the Biden administration disagreed with them.
"We expect the World Bank to be a global leader of climate ambition and mobilization as well, of significantly more climate finance for developing countries, as is the business of the World Bank," she said.
Before joining General Atlantic, Banga worked for more than a decade as Mastercard, serving as its president and chief executive, and then the company's executive chairman. He also was chief executive officer of Citigroup's Asia-Pacific region and worked with Nestle in India for 13 years. He has served on the boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods and Dow Inc.
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