Diversity Leadership: Ajay Banga, MasterCard Worldwide
President and CEO
Ajay Banga uses a dynamic personality and international savvy to promote diversity and inclusion at MasterCard. His success in relating to employees is due in large part to a friendly, approachable demeanor that breaks down traditional barriers between executives and middle management.
Banga has created a “culture of informality where ideas are shared,” MasterCard Chief Diversity Officer Donna Johnson said at a DiversityInc roundtable. Similarly, a profile in the New York Times referred to Banga’s “globe-trotting identity and animated personality” and an “ability to glide among cultures, languages and borders.”
Banga has more than three decades of international business experience. Prior to joining MasterCard in 2009, he was CEO of Citigroup’s Asia Pacific operation. He lived in London, Brussels, Hong Kong and New York during his 13 years at Citigroup. Born, raised and educated in India, Banga is one of a small but growing number of nonwhite CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. He spent more than a decade in sales, marketing and management posts at Nestlé India and two years at PepsiCo India, where he helped launch the company’s fast-food franchises across the subcontinent.
Banga received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Delhi University and is also an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He is chairman of the U.S.-India Business Council and sits on the Executive Committee of Business Roundtable. In addition, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, The Financial Services Roundtable and the Economic Club of New York, and a fellow of the Foreign Policy Association. Banga is married and has two daughters.