Saturday, June 20, 2009

MasterCard hires Citigroup Asia chief as COO

Citigroup's Asia head, Ajay Banga, will join MasterCard as its president and chief operating officer, the latest in a series of high-profile departures from Citigroup.

The appointment puts Banga in line to become the chief executive officer of the world's second-largest credit card network.

"While this was not the appointment of a CEO successor this was certainly the appointment of someone who fits in to a very thoughtful succession plan for the company," MasterCard spokesman Harvey Greisman told Reuters.

Banga, 49, can leave the company with his upfront compensation intact if he is not offered an opportunity by June 30, 2010 to become succeed Robert Selander as CEO of MasterCard.

Selander, who has led MasterCard since April 1997 and oversaw a high-profile public listing of the company in 2006, will relinquish the title of president to Banga when he joins the firm on Aug. 31.

MasterCard will pay Banga a $4.2 million sign-on bonus and $4.9 million in restricted stock grants, according to a regulatory filing.

Banga, 49, led a major reorganization of Citigroup's Asian operations last August that gave regional heads increased authority across the bank's sprawling product lines.

He received about $10 million in compensation in 2008 from Citigroup, making him one of the firm's highest paid executives.

He was appointed Asia chief in March 2008. Previously, Citigroup did not have a region-wide chief executive for its Asia-Pacific business.

Banga and other departures come in the wake of the appointment of Vikram Pandit as CEO and the billions of dollars the company has received in government bailout funds.

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