Washington – Former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga was confirmed on Wednesday to serve as the 14th president of the World Bank and is set to begin his five-year term leading the institution next month.
Banga wasto the role of President Joe Biden in February and will succeed David Malpass as president of the World Bank. Former President Donald Trump took advantage of Malpass and announced earlier this year that he planned to resign about a year earlier.
Mr. Biden congratulated Banga on his “extraordinary approval” from the World Bank’s board of governors and predicted he would be a “transformational leader.”
“Together with World Bank leadership and shareholders, he will help guide the institution as it evolves and expands to address global challenges that directly impact its core mission of poverty reduction – including climate change,” the president said. “Ajay will also be instrumental in bringing together the public and private sectors, along with philanthropies, to bring about the fundamental changes in development finance that are needed right now to bring in.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Banga would play a “vital role” in the World Bank’s efforts to address global challenges such as climate change and praised his record of work across the public and private sectors.
“Ajay understands that the challenges we face—from tackling climate change, pandemics, and vulnerability to ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity—are deeply intertwined,” Yellen said in a statement. “He has effectively built a broad global coalition around his vision for the Bank during his candidacy.”
The head of the World Bank has been an American citizen since its inception after World War II, and traditionally the candidate sent out by the US is chosen to lead the bank.
Banga, who was raised in India, joins the World Bank from private equity firm General Atlantic, where he is vice chairman. He worked for more than ten years at Mastercard, as its president and chief executive, and then as executive chairman. Banga was also the chief executive officer of Citigroup’s Asia-Ocean region and worked with Nestle in India for 13 years. He served on the boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods and Dow Inc.
Banga’s choice to replace Malpass comes as the latter came under fire after refusing to say in September during a New York Times op-ed that he believed the burning of fossil fuels was causing global warming. Malpass instead announced that “I’m not a scientist,” a statement that prompted claims that he was a climate change denier.
The head of the World Bank sought to clarify his position, telling CNN International that it is “not to deny” and “it is clear” that greenhouse gas emissions are coming from artificial sources, including fossil fuels.”
“We are working hard to change that,” Malpass said.
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