Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Who is Greg Baker, the head of the failed Silicon Valley bank? – Usky News

Greg BakerCEO who presided over the collapse Silicon Valley BankJoined the company three decades ago as a loan officer.
The executive cut his teeth during the dotcom bubble and later went on to lead the startup-focused lender in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. He became the Chairman and CEO of SVB Financial Group in 2011.
The company’s operations came to an abrupt halt on Friday as California banking regulators moved swiftly to shut it down in what has been described as the biggest bank failure since the financial crisis. Just 24 hours earlier, Baker had personally called customers to assure them that their money was safe at the bank.
The executive sent a video message to staff on Friday acknowledging an ‘incredibly difficult’ 48 hours following the bank’s collapse.
“It is with an incredibly heavy heart that I am here to deliver this message,” he said in a video seen by Reuters. “I can’t imagine what was going through your mind and thinking about, you know, your job, your future.”
A spokeswoman for the regional Fed bank said Baker, who served on the board of directors at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, left the board effective Friday.
In January, Baker said the economic outlook was improving after a 2022 decline.
“We’re optimistic because our crystal ball is a little clearer,” Baker told CNBC.
According to the Silicon Valley Bank website, Baker holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Indiana University. From there, he worked at a bank that served “traditional companies”. When his manager left to work for a Silicon Valley bank, Baker followed, he said on a Bloomberg podcast in 2021.
Representatives for Silicon Valley Bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The banker described his first few years at SVB as “the highest highs and the lowest lows” as the lender navigated the technocracy of the late 1990s.
He said, “We took a loss. It was a challenging time for us… I look back on it fondly. I learned a lot about the institution. I learned a lot about lending money.”
Prior to becoming President and CEO of SVB Financial Group, Baker co-founded SVB Capital, the investment arm of the company. He also served as chair of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group from 2014 to 2017, and was a member of the US Department of Commerce’s Digital Economy Board of Advisors from 2016 to 2017. Baker rides a bicycle in his spare time and has five grown children.
The Silicon Valley Bank website calls Baker a ‘champion of the innovation economy’. In a video for the BBC in December, Baker said his best career advice was for job seekers to build a skill-set around the innovation economy in areas such as computer programming and project management.
“When you think about your opportunity, if you are underrepresented (and you have) those skills, it really is endless,” he said.


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