After Silicon Valley Bank’s spectacular collapse last week, employees and industry insiders are blaming the CEO’s “stupid” decisions.
Greg Becker, SVB’s CEO, announced last Wednesday that the bank needed to raise just north of $2 billion. What no one can explain, however, is why a 40-year veteran of the banking industry didn’t privately try to raise the capital before making an announcement.
“That was absolutely idiotic,” the employee, who works on the asset management side of Silicon Valley Bank, told CNN in an interview. “They were being very transparent. It’s the exact opposite of what you’d normally see in a scandal. But their transparency and forthright-ness did them in.
“People are just shocked at how stupid the CEO is,” the Silicon Valley Bank insider added. “You’re in business for 40 years and you are telling me you can’t raise $2 billion privately? Get on a jet and fly to Kuwait like everyone else and give them control of one-third of the bank.”
Industry insiders shared the employee’s evaluation:
“Someone lit a match and the bank yelled, ‘Fire!’ – pulling the alarms in earnest out of genuine concern for transparency and honesty,” Jeff Sonnenfeld and Steven Tian, the CEO and research director, respectively, at Yale School of Management’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute (CELI), told CNN.
Sonnenfeld agreed that SVB’s leadership deserved criticism for a “tone-deaf, botched execution.”