Biden taps former Mastercard CEO Banga to head World Bank

The nomination comes simply days after present World Bank President David Malpass introduced he would resign by July, months forward of when the Trump administration-nominated chief’s time period expired.

Banga, if confirmed by the World Bank’s board, can have to stability the local weather agenda of the U.S., the financial institution’s largest shareholder, with considerations from different international locations a couple of potential transfer away from the establishment’s core mandates of combating poverty and funding financial growth initiatives inside nationwide borders.

The U.S. has traditionally been allowed to select the head of the World Bank, though that dynamic has lately confronted pushback from different nations.


Banga, an admired determine for many years on Wall Road, rose to prominence at Citigroup as a protege of then-CEO Sandy Weill. Raised in India as a Sikh, Banga lower a recognizable determine at events and occasions along with his trendy turban and humble strategy.

Weill had to persuade him to take the corporate jet after the Sept. 11 terrorist assaults as an alternative of flying business and risking intense immigration scrutiny. Sikh Individuals confronted vital hostility from some Individuals after the assaults regardless that that they had no connection to Islamic jihadists.

Regardless of being within the combine to take over Citi from Weill, Banga determined to depart the financial institution to take over at Mastercard, which he led from 2010 to 2020.

Environmental advocates have put a premium on guaranteeing the following World Bank president will marshal its sources to handle rising temperatures and ship finance to inexperienced vitality programs throughout the globe.

But Banga is a little bit of a thriller to the climate-minded neighborhood.

“The World Bank is a couple of host of points, which incorporates local weather. So, I imply, first you even have to run the financial institution, which is not any small feat,” mentioned Kalee Kreider, a longtime adviser to former Vice President Al Gore, who’s now president of public affairs agency Ridgely Walsh.

Added Scott Morris, a senior fellow on the Middle for International Growth: “Banga’s nomination clearly displays a want to deal with the World Bank as a financial institution and discover methods to obtain larger scale within the monetary mannequin.”

Some environmental teams are much less eager on the selection.

“Biden has chosen a planet-wrecking CEO for World Bank President,” mentioned Bronwen Tucker, Public Finance Marketing campaign Co-Supervisor at Oil Change Worldwide. “That is the sadly predictable end result of a damaged course of, however he shouldn’t be allowed to title one within the first place.”

Nonetheless, inexperienced champions have additionally acknowledged that the World Bank’s energy comes from bringing in additional personal capital wanted to spark the kind of funding essential to protecting international temperatures from surpassing 1.5 levels Celsius in contrast with pre-industrial ranges.

Particular Local weather Envoy John Kerry, who has urged the World Bank to overhaul its practices to drive extra capital into high-emitting nations and poorer ones struggling to adapt to a hotter planet, mentioned Banga is the proper particular person to ship on that mission.

“Ajay has confirmed his skill as a supervisor of enormous establishments, and understands funding and the mobilization of capital to energy the inexperienced transition,” Kerry mentioned in a tweet. “He will help put in place new insurance policies that assist deploy the massive sums of cash crucial to cut back international emissions and assist growing and susceptible international locations adapt, construct resilience, and mitigate the impression of greenhouse gases.”


Banga can also be an adviser to personal fairness agency Basic Atlantic’s BeyondNetZero fund.

“The White Home has gone for a little bit of an outsider who may shake issues up,” mentioned Sonia Dunlop of environmental assume tank E3G. “He’s used to pushing huge change, huge change administration stuff by huge organizations — and that’s what we’d like on the World Bank.”

Whereas Banga may not be a family title to environmentalists, he’s well-known to Biden world. He served on an Obama administration commerce advisory council, chaired the U.S.-India Enterprise Council, and extra lately had been working with Vice President Kamala Harris’ workplace to “handle the basis causes of migration from Central America,” a White Home official mentioned.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen known as Banga a “famend government” who’s well-equipped to stability the sprawling establishment’s core goals with a brand new agenda targeted on local weather change.

“His efforts have helped convey 500 million unbanked individuals into the digital financial system, deploy personal capital into local weather options, and develop financial alternative by the Partnership for Central America,” Yellen mentioned in an announcement.

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