Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga has been named the top ethnic minority executive in the world in an annual ranking of ethnic minority role models in business.
The EMpower Ethnic Minority Role Model lists, released by diversity and inclusion network INvolve, celebrate the top 100 ethnic minority senior executives, the top 50 future ethnic minority leaders, and 15 advocate white leaders.
Banga, who has served as Mastercard’s chief executive and president for nearly a decade, was credited for leading the payments company’s “inclusion journey,” which includes his chairmanship of the company’s Global Inclusion and Diversity Council and a focus externally on financial inclusion and making a difference to local communities.
Outside of Mastercard, Banga is a founding trustee of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum and is chairman emeritus of the American Indian foundation.
“I consider myself incredibly lucky to work at a company where decency is the foundation for how we approach the work we do,” Banga said in a statement. “When we lead with decency, all of our other values are supported. They’re made even stronger by a commitment to diversity.
Salesforce business operations manager Farah Sidiqqui topped the EMpower 50 Ethnic Minorities Future Leaders List this year.
Siddiqui is the founder and global president of Salesforce’s multi-faith network, Faithforce. The global employee resource group is open to employees of all beliefs — including those with no religion — and has grown to more than 1,700 members.
Alongside its ethnic minority lists, EMpower also releases a ranking of 15 Advocates — white leaders who use their influence to champion diversity and inclusion. Nick Owen, chairman of Deloitte North-West Europe, was awarded the top spot in this year’s advocates list.
Owen was credited for for challenging Deloitte to focus on numerous diversity and inclusion efforts. Building on the company’s initial progress on gender diversity, Owen has steered Deloitte to place more emphasis on ethnicity and begin exploring other areas such as neurodiversity, disability and social mobility.
“Whilst we wait for more formal mandates to ensure equality, role models who have successfully broken down barriers continue to act as inspirations for future generations whilst being agents of change,” Suki Sandhu OBE, founder and CEO of INvolve, said in a statement.
“That’s why we believe it’s important to continue showcasing our Role Model lists, especially while we have research showing there are now more CEOs called Steve than ethnic minority CEOs.”
Analysis from INvolve released earlier this year found there were only five ethnic minority CEOs in the FTSE 100 and six chief executives named Steve. Meanwhile, in the FTSE 250, the number of ethnic minority CEOs equalled the number of chief executives named Andrew.