SVB appoint new Greek American CEO as staff take aim at the previous bank chief

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Silicon Valley Bank's new CEO emailed customers to tell them it's 'business as usual' despite the 'extremely challenging' past few days - as employees were left asking how their former bosses could make 'absolutely idiotic' errors of judgement.

Tim Mayopoulos was named as the new chief executive officer on Monday morning, after the government fired the existing managers including boss Greg Becker.

'Silicon Valley Bank, N.A. is open and conducting business as usual,' wrote Mayopolous, in an email to all clients sent on Monday afternoon.

'We are here to serve you. I recognize the past few days have been an extremely challenging time for our clients and our employees, and we are grateful for the support of the amazing community we serve.

'I have joined the company as CEO starting today.'

He said he came to the role with 'humility', 'experience' and 'an appreciation for the innovation economy.'

Mayopoulos is seen as a safe pair of hands by many within the industry, as he has experience both in crisis-hit financial firms and in tech.

He joined Fannie Mae in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and rose to become president and CEO, returning the company to profitability and delivering more than $167 billion in dividends to taxpayers.

The banker left in 2018 and in January 2019 joined tech company Blend, which provides cloud-based software for enabling banks, credit unions, mortgage originators and other fintech companies to process billions of dollars of mortgage loans and consumer banking transactions per day.

He told SVB's clients in his email: 'We look to restore your confidence and support you and your companies at this time.'

SVB's website has now been refreshed and updated, declaring: 'Silicon Valley Bridge Bank, N.A. is a newly created, full-service FDIC-operated 'bridge bank'. The bank is open for business and new and existing depositors have full access to their money.'

Mayopoulos's hiring, and his immediate, confident outreach, is hoped by the government to calm the markets and reassure jittery investors.

Who is Tim Mayopoulos?

Mayopoulos attended Cornell University in his undergraduate years where he studied English until 1980, before he graduated from New York University School of Law in 1984. Mayopoulos has said that he comes from a humble background and that he attended Cornell with a generous financial aid package, which opened new opportunities for him.

He began his career after law school by clerking for a U.S. district court judge. Mayopoulos then worked at a law firm, and from 1994 to 1996 he served on the federal Whitewater investigation into Bill and Hillary Clinton’s real estate dealings.

In the 2000s, Mayopoulos held senior roles at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisses before serving as Bank of America’s general counsel for five years. He was dismissed from the position after the economic recession in 2009 after Bank of America acquired Merril Lynch.

Mayopoulous joined Fannie Mae months later as general counsel, vice president and corporate secretary. In 2012, he took over as the company’s President and CEO, positions he kept for the next six years.

Under his tenure, Fannie Mae recovered from the recession and implemented new technology to bring more safety and transparency to mortgage lending. He moved on in 2019 to serve as president at Blend, a cloud-based software company that processes mortgages and consumer banking.

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