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Biden nominates Ajay Banga as World Bank chief to replace Malpass

World Bank President Ajay Bangla

U.S. President Joe Biden nominated India-born Ajay Banga for the post of World Bank chief to replace David Malpass who announced his resignation last week after he ran into a controversy over his stand on climate change.

Biden’s nomination on Thursday of Banga, 63, now a U.S. citizen, all but assures he will get the top job as historically the World Bank has been headed by a person from the United States, its largest shareholder, while a European heads the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Both multilateral institutions, known as the Bretton Wood twins, oversee billions of dollars of funding, as it races to help developing countries address climate change.

“Ajay is uniquely equipped to lead the World Bank at this critical moment in history,” Biden said in a statement, hailing the former Mastercard CEO’s business executive’s Indian roots and knowledge of the challenges facing developing countries and ability to mobilize private capital to tackle big problems.

Biden highlighted Banga’s decades of experience building global companies and public-private partnerships to fund responses to climate change and migration and said he had a proven track record working with global leaders.

Banga was born in Pune cantonment and his father was a Lt. General in the Indian Army.

He is vice chair of General Atlantic, a U.S. private equity firm that administration officials said has invested over $800 million in EV charging solutions, solar power and sustainable farming.

Banga retired in December 2021 after 12 years at the helm of Mastercard, where administration officials noted that he helped 500 million unbanked people join the digital economy, averted layoffs of the bank’s 19,000 employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, and led work on climate, gender and sustainable agriculture.

US Vice President Kamala Harris praised Banga saying he brought “great insight, energy and persistence” as co-chair of the Partnership for Central America, which has mobilized $4.2 billion to advance economic opportunity in the region.