Ajaypal Singh Banga is the current President and CEO of MasterCard. MasterCard announced on April 12, 2010 that Ajay Banga, previously MasterCard’s President and COO, had been named by the Board of Directors to serve as the company’s CEO, effective July 1, 2010. The company also announced that Banga would become a member of MasterCard’s Board of Directors, effective immediately. Banga, 50, succeeded Robert W. Selander, who had been MasterCard’s Chief Executive Officer since March 1997.
Banga was born into a Sikh family in Khadki, outside Pune, Maharashtra, where his father, an army officer, was posted. The family’s origin is from Jalandhar in Punjab. His father is retired Lieutenant-General Harbhajan Singh Banga, who is a decorated general officer of Indian Army. He is also the younger brother of another well known CEO, M S Banga. Banga grew up and schooled across India, successively in Secunderabad, Jalandhar, Delhi, Hyderabad and in Shimla, where he finished his schooling.
Banga went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, and subsequently also acquired a MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
Beginning his business career with Nestlé in 1981, Banga spent the next 13 years working in simple jobs spanning sales, marketing, and general management. He later joinedPepsiCo and was involved in the launch of its international fast food franchises in India as the economy liberalized. Prior to joining MasterCard, Banga spent 13 years at Citigroup from 1996 as part of the bank’s senior management in the United States and Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions, before becoming the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Citi’s international global consumer group in 2005. He was also responsible for Citi’s brand and marketing work across the entire company. Most recently, he was Chief Executive Officer of Citi Asia Pacific, responsible for all of the company’s business lines in the region, including institutional banking, alternative investments, wealth management, consumer banking and credit cards. He was also a member of Citi’s senior leadership and executive committees.
His other commitments inbclude his serving on the board of Kraft Foods Inc. In addition, he is also on the board of trustees of the Asia Society, is a Chairman of the US-India Business Council, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, The Financial Services Roundtable and The Economic Club of New York. He is also a fellow of the Foreign Policy Association. Banga was the vice chairman of the board of trustees of the New York Hall of Science and a board member of the National Urban League as well. He was formerly a business sponsor of Citi’s African heritage network – NYC.
Banga has a keen interest in social development issues, and over the period from 2005 to mid-2009, he spearheaded Citi’s strategy in the microfinance sector across the world.