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#48—Insights from a Former CEO with Ajay Banga of MasterCard

#48—Insights from a Former CEO with Ajay Banga of MasterCard

Ajay Banga is Vice Chairman at General Atlantic, which he joined after 12 years at the helm of Mastercard, leading the company through a strategic, technological and cultural transformation over 11 years as president and chief executive officer and one year as executive chair of the board of directors. Under Ajay leadership, Mastercard’s stock price grew from $30 to $350 per share.

Ajay began his career at Nestlé, India, where for 13 years he worked on assignments spanning sales, marketing and general management. He also spent two years with PepsiCo before joining Citigroup, where he rose to the role of chief executive officer of Citigroup Asia Pacific.

Over the course of his career, he’s become a global leader in technology, data, financial services and innovating for inclusion. Ajay also serves as Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce and is an Independent Director at Temasek and for Exor, where he serves as Chair of the company’s Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance Committee. He became an advisor to General Atlantic’s BeyondNetZero venture at its inception in 2021.

He is a co-founder of The Cyber Readiness Institute, Vice Chair of the Economic Club of New York, a former member of the World Economic Forum’s EDISON Alliance, and served as a member of President Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity, and a past member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, among many other roles he has served.

In this podcast, he shares:

  • How under his leadership, he significantly grew Mastercard’s stock price

  • How to connect your company’s message to a global purpose

  • What advice Ajay would offer as a CEO to CSOs Best career advice he ever received as a CEO

  • How he structures his day in juggling so many responsibilities


"Strategy is a way to create a shining city on the hill, for you to know where you want people to go and to define a way to climb that hill, and to give them the tools and resources to get there. If you do that well and if you do it with simplicity and you do it with clarity—If you do that well, Kaihan, then you have what I call strategy."

-Ajay Banga


  • Episode Timeline:

    00:00—Introducing Ajay + The topic of today’s episode

    2:30—If you really know me you know that...

    3:17—What is your definition of strategy?

    6:01—Could you share the strategies you used when significantly growing Mastercard's stock price?

    9:25—Could you talk about the brand messages you've championed, and how they were transcendent messages that elevated both the business and world?

    15:18—What is the best advice you ever received in your career?

    17:33—Do you have an advice for strategy officers from a CEO?

    20:29—Do you have any tips for amplifying informal influence?

    22:47—How do you introduce urgency in a way that moves people to action, not panic?

    24:17—How do you structure your day to be efficient as a CEO?

    26:26—What is your secret to staying on top of communications and email?

    28:31—What are you working on now


Additional Resources:


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The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.