Early Life and Education of Ajaypal Singh Banga
Ajaypal Singh Banga was born in the year 1960, into a Saini Sikh family in the Khadki town of Pune, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. His father, retired lieutenant-general and decorated army general of the Indian Army, Harbhajan Singh Banga was posted there and the family’s origin is from Jalandhar, Punjab. Ajay is the younger brother of Manvinder Singh Banga, another well known CEO. He grew up and pursued schooling from different places, successively in Secunderabad, Jalandhar, Delhi, Hyderabad and in Shimla where he completed his schooling. He did his graduation in Bachelors of Arts (Honours) degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi under Delhi University. He later completed his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
Career of Ajaypal Singh Banga
Ajaypal Singh Banga stands as an entirely India-minted executive who has scaled the echelons of an international company. He started his career with Nestle India, as a management trainee in 1981 and spent the next 13 years holding a variety of assignments encompassing sales, marketing and general management. He later joined PepsiCo's Restaurants Division, where he was involved in the launch of its international fast food franchises in India as the economy liberalized.
He joined Citigroup, American multinational investment banking and financial services corporation, in 1996, as the head of marketing in India for the consumer business and served in different positions of increasing responsibility. These included Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of International Global Consumer Group; President of Retail Banking in North America; Business Head for CitiFinancial and U.S. Consumer Assets Division; and division executive for the consumer bank in Central/Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa and India.
In the year 2000, Ajay Banga was promoted to head CitiFinancial and the U.S. Consumer Assets Division. In 2002, he took over the retail bank in North America, his first stint in the United States. Later in 2005, he was named to head Citigroup's international consumer banking and finance businesses. He moved to Hong Kong in early 2008 after being named to oversee all of the bank's businesses in Asia, including credit cards and consumer banking, institutional banking, wealth management and alternative investments, before returning to the US in 2009 to join MasterCard. He joined the payment services firm as the new second-in-command with a package of about Rs.90 Crores, an offer that could be billed at the time as the biggest package in the state of global economic crisis. He joined the global financial services giant as its President and Chief Operating Officer on August 31, 2009, with the prospect of becoming the CEO within a year’s time. He became the President and CEO on July 1, 2010 and also earlier a member of the Board of Directors.
On joining MasterCard worldwide, Banga's task was clear - to chase down leader VISA at a time both networks were said to be benefiting from consumers' increased shift to plastic. He worked with one of his best clients to find a way to get more youngsters to use debit cards, redesigning the debit card product with a package of features, such as connecting it to music, and creating a whole new marketing approach with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The results were dramatic. Regarding high-tech innovation one area of development was that could transform driving e-commerce, mobile and transit fares and the other was a group of young, trendy and innovative people in MasterCard Labs, developing new ideas and trying to embed them to the clients. It was a way to build, for banks and merchants, new innovative ways of paying for goods and services, such as being able to read a bar code from the phone and convert it into a purchase.
Ajaypal Singh Banga is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and The Economic Club of New York, as well as a Fellow of the Foreign Policy Association. He is a member of The Financial Services Roundtable and The Business Roundtable where he chairs the Information and Technology Initiative. Within the last five years, Mr. Banga has also served on the boards of trustees of Enterprise Community Partners Inc., the National Urban League and the New York Hall of Science, and was a director at the Council for Economic Education. He has a keen interest in social development issues and was named by The Economic Times of India as the fourth "Most Powerful Indian" in the world. He has most recently been conferred the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour by the Government of India in 2016, for excellence in the trade and industry domain.
|More Articles in Indian Businessmen (25)|