MasterCard strengthens Asia business with senior appointments

MasterCard hires Neel Nilakantan, Ruben Salazar and Ari Sarker as it expands its Singapore-based team.

MasterCard has hired three senior executives for its Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) global products and solutions team which is based in Singapore. According to MasterCard, the appointments will help the company bring the benefits of electronic payments to consumers, businesses and governments.

Neel Nilakantan has been promoted to regional head of prepaid products for APMEA. He has been working at MasterCard for 10 years and has held several senior positions in the company’s prepaid, debit and consumer solutions businesses. Before joining MasterCard, Nilakantan worked in sales, product management and business development at various financial institutions including Citi, Standard Chartered and Mashreqbank for 10 years. In his new role he will be responsible for driving MasterCard’s prepaid strategies and will help the development and execution of innovative customer solutions.

Ari Sarker was appointed group head of global network products and will be responsible for driving the growth of MasterCard’s network processing business across the payment value chain. In addition, he will identify, lead and manage equity investment opportunities for the company with the help of other senior executives in the region. Sarker joins MasterCard from GE Capital where he held various senior roles in private equity, commercial finance and financial planning and analysis for 13 years in both India and the US.

Ruben Salazar rejoined MasterCard as head of consumer credit products for APMEA from Barclays Spain where he was the managing director of the bank’s card business. Salazar was previously senior business leader for consumer credit product development at MasterCard for Latin America and the Caribbean before he joined Barclays Spain. In his new role, Salazar will be responsible for leading the strategic development and execution of MasterCard’s credit products in the region and driving the company’s affluent strategy by providing solutions for the affluent segment of its business.

“I look forward to working with them [Nilakantan, Salazar, Sarker] to grow and diversify MasterCard’s products and solutions in the rapidly changing marketplace,” said Yunsok Chang, group executive of global products and solutions for APMEA at MasterCard Worldwide, in a statement. “We are in an excellent position to help our customers capitalise on new business opportunities and build on the momentum of growing their payment portfolio.”

MasterCard Worldwide processes more than 23 billion transactions per year and provides services for individual consumers, governments and business in more than 210 countries and territories globally.

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