Ajaypal Singh Banga is both the CEO and the President of Mastercard. He has held the position of CEO since 2010, which was when he was promoted from his previous position of COO. Since his promotion, Banga has had an enormous impact on Mastercard and beyond. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Ajaypal Singh Banga:
1. He Is Sikh
Banga is Sikh, which should come as no surprise for people who are familiar with Sikhism. First, his full name includes Singh, which isn’t exclusive to Sikhs but is nonetheless very common among them because of the tenth Sikh Guru. Furthermore, Banga wears the turban that is supposed to protect uncut hair while maintaining a trimmed beard. The latter practice isn’t traditional but has nonetheless started seeing widespread use because of convenience and other reasons.
2. Born in Khadki in Maharashtra
In 1960, Banga was born in a town called Khadki, which is situated very close to the city of Pune in the state of Maharashtra. He was born there because his father was an army officer who was posted there at the time.
3. Has Some Pretty Illustrious People in His Family
It is interesting to note that Banga’s father went on to become a general in the Indian Army. Furthermore, his older brother Manvinder Singh Banga went on to become a CEO as well, though he is now a senior partner at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.
4. Went to Hyderabad Public School
Banga was a a student at a private school called Hyderabad Public School, which was established in 1923 for the purpose of educating the sons of the elite. Curiously, it has turned out not one, not two, but three CEOs of famous companies, with the other two being Shantanu Narayen and Satya Nadella at the heads of Adobe and Microsoft respectively.
5. Has an Interest in Social Development
It has been said that Banga has a strong interest in social development issues. As a result, when he was at Citibank from 2005 to mid 2009, he played an important role in its approach to microfinance. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, microfinance is focused on providing financial products and services to people who are underserved by banks and other financial institutions. Due to this, small loans to the very poor can be counted as microfinance, but so can checking accounts and savings accounts meant for that same clientele.
6. Has Experienced Prejudice
Having money helps, but at the end of the day, it isn’t a perfect insulator from prejudice. In Banga’s case, he has related a story about four men in a vehicle who called him a member of the Taliban and other made other bigoted comments while he was crossing the street in Turkey.
7. Believes in Taking Such Incidents In Stride
Banga has stated that he believes in taking such incidents in stride instead of letting them get to him. Ultimately, he prefers thinking that the overwhelming majority of people do not set out to be prejudiced towards others. Moreover, he prefers thinking that the overwhelming majority of people would instead be sympathetic towards those who are on the receiving end of such poor treatment.
8. Believes in the Importance of Diversity
On a semi-related note, Banga has voiced his belief in the importance of diversity in workplaces. Even ignoring the ethical reasoning, this makes plenty of practical sense, as shown by Banga’s follow-up statement that being staffed by people with the same backgrounds, same experiences, and same mind-sets can cause companies to miss out on opportunities that other people with other circumstances could have seen coming.
9. Visits Countries Where Mastercard Operates
The Mastercard CEO’s stance on diversity makes particular sense because of the worldwide nature of the corporation’s operations. To make himself more capable at leading such operations, Banga often visits countries where Mastercard operates for the purpose of familiarizing himself with the Mastercard employees working there.
10. Has Called Cryptocurrency Junk
Banga has outright called cryptocurrency junk on one occasion. As far as he is concerned, cryptocurrencies aren’t real currencies because they are not suitable for use as a medium of exchange. Partly, this is because they have to be mined by people and partly, this is because their value can see such wild fluctuations.