David Malpass, the choice of previous president Donald Trump, is replaced by Mr. Banga, who becomes the bank’s first CEO of Indian descent.
President Joe Biden announced the nomination of former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga to be the head of the World Bank on Thursday, praising his crucial expertise in global issues including climate change.
The information was released just days after David Malpass, a Trump nominee, declared his intention to leave his position as director of the 189-nation body tasked with reducing poverty. In April 2024, his five-year term was set to end.
The US has made addressing the effects of climate change at the international bank a top priority.
Leading environmentalists have also urged the Biden administration to take advantage of Mr. Malpass’ early departure as an opportunity to restructure the influential financial institution, which has come under increasing fire for being hostile to less wealthy countries and initiatives to combat climate change.
Last year, Mr. Malpass faced fire for appearing to question the research proving that burning fossil fuels caused global warming in remarks made at a conference.
However, he expressed regret and stated he had made a mistake, stressing that the bank frequently uses climate science.
With more than 30 years of commercial experience, Mr. Banga, vice chairman at private equity company General Atlantic, has held a number of positions at Mastercard and been on the boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods, and Dow.
He is the first Indian-born candidate for president of the World Bank.
The World Bank has promised to conduct “an open, merit-based and transparent selection process” and said it would accept nominations through March 29.
The bank is under intense pressure to do more to help poor countries finance projects to combat and prepare for climate change without saddling them with heavy debt burdens.