Global payments player Mastercard announced the elevation of Vikas Varma to Chief Operating Officer. Vikas has been associated with Mastercard since 2005 and has held various leadership roles, including overseeing business, market and merchant development, among others.
Vikas will play a critical role in leading Mastercard’s long term strategy for the India market. In this direction, recently, Mastercard announced an investment of $1 Bn over the next five years in India, in addition to the earlier investment of $1 Bn between 2014-19.
In his new role, Vikas will lead initiatives such as new partnerships and development of digital payments solutions in the country. These initiatives will further accelerate Mastercard’s ongoing focus on technology innovation, merchant acceptance, and consumer adoption of digital payments.
Porush Singh, Division President, South Asia, Mastercard stated, “Mastercard is excited to announce the appointment of Vikas Varma as Chief Operating Officer. With his deep understanding of the payments ecosystem and retail financial services, Vikas has contributed immensely to Mastercard’s operations in India. Given his vast experience and expertise in payments innovation in emerging markets, Mastercard is confident that in his new role, Vikas will be instrumental in driving growth of digital payments and support India’s evolution to a less-cash society.”
Vikas’s elevation is significant given the fact that Mastercard has been actively involved in technology innovation. In this direction, it is actively focusing on nurturing the fintech ecosystem in India through a variety of partnerships and the infusion of capital into early-stage startups. One such initiative is the company’s established global Start Path program Mastercard has supported several startups including ToneTag, Razorpay, Zeta, Fluid AI, Happay, Signzy, ftcash, and Syntizen. Going forward, Vikas will also oversee the progress of Mastercard’s Start Path program in India.
In addition, Mastercard is also forging partnerships with the governments and regulators in South Asian emerging markets such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to build the requisite infrastructure and promote digital payments. Vikas will also provide guidance to the country management of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for Mastercard. Given the rising growth in digital payments in these countries, it will be interesting to see how Vikas is able to leverage the opportunity at hand for the global payments giant amidst rising competition.