Greg Becker, the chief executive officer who presided over the collapsed Silicon Valley Bank, joined the company three decades ago as a loan officer.
The executive cut his teeth during the dotcom bubble and later steered the startup-focused lender in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. He became president and CEO of SVB Financial Group in 2011.
The company’s operations abruptly came to a halt on Friday (Mar 10) as California banking regulators moved quickly to shut it down in what became the largest bank failure since the financial crisis. Just 24 hours earlier, Becker had personally called clients to assure them their money with the bank was safe.
The executive sent a video message to employees on Friday acknowledging the “incredibly difficult” 48 hours leading up to the bank’s collapse.
“It’s with an incredibly heavy heart that I’m here to deliver this message,” he said in a video seen by Reuters. “I can’t imagine what was going through your head and wondering, you know, about your job, your future.”
Becker, who served on the board of directors at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, departed the board effective Friday, a spokesperson for the regional Fed bank said.
In January, Becker said the economic outlook was improving after a downbeat 2022.
“We’re optimistic because our crystal ball is a little clearer,” Becker told CNBC. While he expected public markets to stabilise, “we still think in the first half there is going to be more volatility”.
Becker graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in business, according to Silicon Valley Bank’s website. From there, he worked at a bank that served what he called “traditional companies.” When his manager left to work for Silicon Valley Bank, Becker followed, he said in 2021 on a Bloomberg podcast.
Representatives for Silicon Valley Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.