Pune born, Delhi educated Ajay Banga is new CEO of MasterCard

April 13th, 2010 - 12:58 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, April 12 (IANS) Pune-born, Delhi-educated, IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus Ajay Banga has been appointed as the chief executive officer (CEO) of electronic payment services provider MasterCard.

Banga, 50, would take over July 1 from Robert W. Selander, who has been heading the company since March 1997, MasterCard said in a statement Monday. He also becomes a member of the company board.

He gets the top job only ten months after being hired as the company’s president and chief operating officer from CitiGroup as a potential successor.

“I am excited to lead MasterCard at a time when the global opportunity for electronic payments has never been stronger,” Banga, said joining the likes of Citigroup’s Vikram Pandit and PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi in heading a global corporate, two other prominent Indian origin executives heading global companies.

Banga, who is a Sikh, 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 forsook a career in the army that his father was keen he pursue and instead later took a BA in Economics Honours from Delhi University and later an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Ajay Banga is the brother of high profile Manvinder Singh Banga of Uniliver. Last month, M.S. Banga, president, Global Foods, Home & Personal Care, Uniliver, had announced that he would leave the company by the end of May.

MasterCard, the global payment solution leader, processes over 22 billion transactions in a year. It had a profit of $1.5 billion on revenues of $5.1 billion for 2009.

Before joining MasterCard on Aug 31, 2009, Banga had spent 13 long years with banking major Citigroup. He was Citi Asia-Pacific CEO, responsible for all of the company’s business lines in the region including institutional banking, wealth management and credit cards.

Banga started his career with Nestle in 1981 and later joined Pepsico. He also serves on the board of Kraft Foods.

“We are fortunate to announce the transition to a leader with Ajay’s expertise and experience. His industry knowledge, as well as his deep background in financial services encompassing many geographies, makes him the ideal CEO to successfully drive MasterCard’s future growth,” MasterCard Board of Directors’ Chairman Richard Haythornthwaite said.

Following the transition, Selander would serve as the MasterCard’s executive vice chairman and continue to serve as a board member till his retirement on Dec 31.

“Since joining MasterCard in late August 2009, Ajay has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and insight, and I know he is the ideal candidate to lead MasterCard moving forward,” Selander said.

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