President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated MasterCard’s Indian-American CEO Ajay Banga to a newly announced commission on enhancing national cybersecurity.
Banga was among 10 people named in the White House announcement, along with former boss of the top US spying body National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander.
Obama has appointed a large number of Indian-descent Americans to his administration — perhaps most yet — and to advisory bodies such as the commission on cybersecurity.
This commission was set up past February to “make detailed recommendations to strengthen cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors while protecting privacy, ensuring public safety and economic and national security”, according to its mission statement.
As CEO of MasterCard, a global financial services corporation that grapples with cybersecurity challenges every day and in myriad battlefields, Banga will bring the commission much relevant expertise.
Banga has been heading MasterCard since 2010, during which period he also took charge of the US-India Business Council, a body to promote business between the two countries.
During Banga’s high-profile tenure at the USIBC, the body hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a much-cited public event in DC during his first visit here after taking office.
Banga, an alumnus of Delhi’s St Stephen’s College, was with Citigroup in various capacities from 1996 to 2009m with his last assignment there being CEO of the group’s Asia Pacific unit.
Before Citi, Banga spend two years at Pepsi as director of marketing and business development at the multinational’s India operations. He started his career in Nestle.
Banga has been a member of the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations since 2015, and serves on the boards of the Dow Chemical Company and American Red Cross.
He is also co-chair of the American India Foundation.