Greg Becker was the former CEO of the collapsed Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). He oversaw an era of tremendous growth and became a prominent advocate for the tech sector.
According to his archived bio, Becker started at SVB in 1993 as a banker and worked his way to the position of CEO and President in 2011. He was also co-founder of the bank’s venture capital fund. This fund held large stakes at prominent venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz or Sequoia Capital. According to Reuters, he also played a significant role in steering the bank out of the 2008 financial crisis.
After becoming the bank’s chief executives, his profile grew quickly and he was a prominent advocate for the innovation economy. From 2014-17, Becker was the chair of Silicon Valley Leadership Group. He also served as its executive director. After joining the executive council in 2016, he was elected to chair TechNet, a bipartisan technology trade association.
Becker was an American Commerce Department member of the Digital Economy Board in 2016-17. He became a Class A director at the San Francisco Federal Reserve for 2019. In the aftermath of the collapse of SVB, Becker left the San Francisco Fed.
Becker supported the repeal of parts of Dodd-Frank’s regulatory package that was passed in the wake of 2008’s financial crisis.
FEC records reveal that Becker gave to powerful Democrats like New York Senator Chuck Schumer and Virginia Senator Mark Warner. According to OpenSecrets data, Becker made small contributions to Silicon Valley Democratic Reps. Ro Kanna and Zoe Lofgren and also gave money to Political Action Committees.
In 2018, President Trump signed a bipartisan bank deregulation bill. This was the same year that SVB joined S&P 500, after years of growth under Becker. SVB was used by 67% of all venture-backed businesses that had an Initial Public Offering (IPO), a sign of its dominance among high-growth startups.
Under Becker’s direction, SVB was the 14th largest U.S. financial institution with approximately $209 billion in assets. Becker was the first to be hired. It had $50,000,000 in assets.
Inspired by the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots, diversity initiatives at SVB became a priority for Becker. A 2020 report revealed that the bank had promised $73 million to social justice causes between 2020-2022. According to the report, SVB also partnered 44 organizations to improve Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the innovation economy. 20% of its employees were part of a DEI advocacy network.
Silicon Valley Bank was listed on Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index and was ranked by the Bay Area Business Journals as a top corporate Philanthropist. Forbes ranked it as one of the top employers in the world and SVB was named one of the best banks worldwide in 2023.
Becker’s net worth increased to $37 million primarily through the sale of SVB stock. On February 27th, Becker sold off $3.6 million of SVB stock, just before the bank collapsed. This transaction is currently under investigation by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. According to Axios, his annual salary was approximately $6.7 million in the last two years.
CNBC reports that Becker sold $30,000,000 worth of SVB stock between 2020 and 23 at prices ranging anywhere from $287 per share to $598 per share. CNBC reports that the Federal Reserve raised interest rates, which led to widespread layoffs and a drop in the stock price of the bank.
SVB’s excessive exposure to long-term treasury bonds made the bank vulnerable to Federal Reserve interest rate increases. This vulnerability led to a bank run and the bank’s eventual collapse.
On Friday, regulators took control of the bank and announced a plan for bailing out its depositors. Becker, along with the entire bank’s executive team, was relieved from his duties.
Becker received a business degree from Indiana University and has three children. He is married to Tiffany. He was born in 1969 in California and raised there.