MasterCard on Monday named Ajay Banga as chief executive, boosting the ranks of Indian-born executives at the helm of some of the world’s largest corporations.
Banga joins an elite group, which includes Indra Nooyi, who runs PepsiCo and is regularly named as one of the most powerful women in the world, and Vikram Pandit, the chief executive of the banking conglomerate Citigroup.
Banga, 50, who was the chief operating officer, will replace retiring chief executive Robert Selander at the credit cards group in July.
An economics graduate from Delhi University, Banga joined MasterCard in August after spending 13 years with Citigroup, where he joined as head of marketing in India and rose to the job of running the bank's Asia Pacific business. He was paid $10million at Citigroup in 2008, making him one of the bank's most well-rewarded executives.
He had previously worked at Nestle and PepsiCo and is also an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management. Nish Kotecha, deputy chairman of the Asian Business Association in London, said the growing number of Indian-born executives was a reflection of multinationals waking up to the fact that India and other emerging markets are becoming increasingly important. “These markets are moving from being subsidiary to being core to the business and the only way to understand the culture of those markets is to hire people from those markets, whether that manifests itself in executive positions, or more diverse boards,” he said.