Technology and payments providers alike were worried that President Donald Trump's surprise January executive order on immigration would hurt research and development and create difficulties for international employees.
"I am an immigrant to this wonderful country," Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga said in a Jan. 30 memo to employees. Banga, who has been CEO at Purchase, N.Y.-based Mastercard since 2010, grew up and attended schools in India. "I came here midway through my career and have, over the past years, made this my home and pledged my allegiance to all that the Constitution stands for."
Banga went on to say America has offered his family "all sorts of opportunities and joys," citing the education his daughters have received and the career he has been able to enjoy.
The diversity of Mastercard's workforce is "our strongest weapon to be innovative and creative," Banga said. "In our industry, with its pace of change, surrounding yourself with people who don't look like you and have had different experiences from you is the best way to ensure you don't have some blind spots, that you are get differing points of view and that you feel the pressure and pleasure of designing products and services for a diverse world."
Trump's original executive order barred people from mostly Muslim countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days. The White House declared that green card holders from those countries won't be barred from entry, but confusion reigned in the first days of the policy change, leading many concerned about what could be next and how it affects global employees.
Banga admitted the direct impact of the executive order on Mastercard may be limited, but noted, "What affects one of us, affects all of us."