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29 Jun, 2023 14:38

Indian-born World Bank chief features on US list of ‘Great Immigrants’

Ajay Banga has been named on the 2023 list of naturalized citizens recognized for their “contribution” to American democracy
Indian-born World Bank chief features on US list of ‘Great Immigrants’

Indian-born World Bank president Ajay Banga has been included on the 2023 ‘Great Immigrants’ list compiled by New York’s Carnegie Corporation. Banga is the only Indian-American to make the list.

The philanthropic fund recognized 35 naturalized citizens “whose contributions and actions have enriched and strengthened our society and our democracy.” The honorees from 33 countries include educators, mentors, philanthropists, job creators, public servants, storytellers, and advocates.  

As is traditional, the honor was announced ahead of Independence Day on July 4.  

Banga, 63, was selected as the 14th president of the World Bank for a five-year term in June. He is the first-ever Indian-American to lead the institution.   

He has over 30 years of experience in key positions, including as vice chairman at General Atlantic and president and CEO of Mastercard. Banga is “expected to usher in transformative policies at the World Bank to combat poverty and address climate change, opening opportunities for people around the globe,” according to his 2023 Great Immigrants profile.   

Banga told the Carnegie Corporation how diversity had helped him succeed as a corporate leader.   

At the end of the day, if you surround yourself with people who look like you, who walk like you and talk like you, and grew up in the same places you did and worked with you in your prior jobs, then you will have a sense of comfort of hiring people around you who have that familiarity. But you will also have the same blind spots. You will miss the same trends. You will miss the same opportunities,” Banga said.  

Born in the city of Pune, the World Bank chief started his career with Nestlé India. In 1996, he moved to the US and joined PepsiCo, where he worked in various senior positions for over a decade.      

In 2009, Banga joined Mastercard as its president and COO and became CEO the following year. He served in those roles for 12 years before being named executive chairman.    

Other honorees this year include Vietnamese-born Academy Award-winning actor Ke Huy Quan, Chilean-born actor Pedro Pascal, the Nigerian-born director-general of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and US Congressman Ted Lieu, who was born in Taiwan.