Leadership Reflections of Ajay Banga, CEO, MasterCard

MasterCard’s Ajay Banga is a rarity. Raised and educated in India, he is one of the few Asians to serve as CEO of a major Western MNC. Banga spoke with HQ Asia on the advantages of Asian leadership, the attributes all leaders need, and the mass-market appeal of an easy-pour ketchup bottle. HQ Asia spoke to him and distilled ten of his leadership insights.

1) “Plan D” management

Working in Asia can provide distinct advantages for those who aspire to lead global organisations. For one thing, you have to constantly deal with uncertainty and unpredictability. This is true for most of Asia – with Singapore being the striking exception. When I was growing up in India, electricity blackouts were common, so we learnt to have a power generator as backup, and have another backup for the backup. This instinctive ability to have a plan B, plan C, and plan D is really useful when you take on a global role in today’s volatile...

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