Delhi whiz Ajay Banga becomes MasterCard CEO

Ajay BangaAn entirely India-educated financial pundit climbed a world corporate pinnacle on Monday with MasterCard Inc, the Banga will take over the top position from current CEO Robert Selander on July 1, only ten months after being hired from CitiGroup as a potential successor.

Banga joined MasterCard as president and chief operating officer from Citigroup Inc. last August, and was given a $4.2 million signing bonus he could keep if he wasn’t named CEO by June 30, 2010, according to a regulatory filing. Banga will retain his title as president when he becomes CEO. CitiGroup is also led by a CEO of Indian origin, Vikram Pandit, as is PepsiCo (CEO Indra Nooyi), which, like MasterCard, is headquartered in a small town called Purchase in New York.
Purchase, accidentally named so because the British who bought the land from Native Americans put down the word on the map, is also home to J.P.Morgan, another financial institution with a wealth of Indian talent in its upper echelons.

Ajay BangaMastercard’s announcement about elevating Banga, who is a turbaned Sikh, came the same day Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is visiting the U.S for the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC. In recent years, the much-admired community from India has made strenuous efforts to apprise Americans of their distinctive religion and culture, with even the White House responding by celebrating the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev for the first time last year, a point President Obama conveyed to Prime Minister Singh when they met in November.

Banga was born in Khadki outside Pune, where his father, an army officer, was posted. He grew up and schooled across India, successively in Secunderabad, Jalandhar, Delhi, Hyderabad and in Shimla, where he finished his schooling. He rejected an army career his father was keen he pursue and instead later took a BA in Economics Honors from Delhi University and later an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. In that sense, he is an entirely India-minted executive who has reached the top of an international company; others like Pandit and Nooyi have U.S degrees in addition to the ones they earned in India. Banga started his career at Nestle and joined Citigroup in 1996 as head of marketing in India for the consumer business. Incidentally, his brother M.S Banga is the former chairman of Hindustan Lever Limited.

Mastercard CEO
In 2000, Ajay Banga was promoted to head CitiFinancial and the U.S. consumer assets division. In 2002 he took over the retail bank in North America – his first stint in the U.S — and in 2005 he was named to head Citigroup’s international consumer-banking and finance businesses. He moved to Hong Kong in early 2008 after being named to oversee all of the bank’s businesses in Asia, including credit cards and consumer banking, institutional banking, wealth management and alternative investments, before returning to US last year to join MasterCard.

Banga’s task ahead is clear – to chase down leader Visa at a time both networks are said to be benefiting from consumers’ increased shift to plastic. Card-based transactions are now starting to exceed cash and checks in the U.S. By 2013, card- and electronic-based payments will account for 63 percent of an estimated $9 trillion in U.S. consumer transactions, according to industry experts.

 

courtesy of www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com

 

 

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