Ajay Banga has been MasterCard's cheerleader since he joined the firm as president and chief operating officer last year. But now he's transforming into the company's protector as he prepares to take the reins as CEO and stand up to the lawmakers who are targeting the credit card industry. "Ajay is energetic and open and engaging, which is going to help shape the culture at MasterCard in a good way," said Tien-Tsin Huang, an analyst who follows MasterCard for JPMorgan Chase. "He is a logical next step for the company."

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