Laura Izurieta, a former chief risk officer for Silicon Valley Bank, walked away with more than $7.1 million last year after negotiating a lucrative exit deal.
The former chief risk officer of the bankrupt SVB bank walked away with more than $7.1 million last year, the documents show.
The inexplicable departure of Laura Izurieta from Silicon Valley Bank in April 2022, leaving it without a chief risk officer for eight months, has raised suspicions among financial analysts conducting an autopsy on the failed financial institution.
Izurieta, 62, presided over a wave of bond purchases in 2020 and 2021 that left the bank vulnerable to the same kind of frenzied bank run that toppled it last week.
But she managed to get out of the company unscathed before it all came crashing down, even earning $7,151,136.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), SVB said it approached Izurieta about finishing his work early last year, after he sold $4,176,354 of his shares in the company on December 6, 2021.
The documents said his termination was “without cause,” meaning it was not for any kind of misconduct, but offered no other explanation.
She ended her tenure as Chief Risk Officer on April 29, negotiating an exit agreement with the board that earned her a base salary of $512,500, a bonus of $450,000, severance pay of $457,192, and an additional $1.5 million to remain as a consultant. for five months while the bank searched for a successor.
His inexplicable departure from SVB in April 2022 left him without a chief risk officer for eight months, a role required by federal regulations.
SEC documents showing the bank’s risk committee met 18 times in 2022, more than double the seven meetings it held the previous year
The bank had seven of its 11 board members join the committee, while other committees had a maximum of five members.
Izurieta ended her tenure as chief risk officer on April 29, negotiating an exit agreement with the board and earning her base salary of $512,500, a bonus of $450,000, severance of $457,192 and an additional $1.5 million to remain. as a consultant for five months.
Izurieta, who worked for the bank for nearly six years, has not announced another position on his LinkedIn page.
She lives in a $2 million, four-bed house in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband and two children in their 20s. She also owns a three-bed lakeside home in Mineral, Virginia.
Izurieta previously served as an executive vice president at Capital One bank and has experience in mortgage lending.
SVB spent the rest of 2022 without a chief risk officer, a role required by federal regulations for financial institutions that manage $50 billion or more.
Izurieta remained as a consultant at the bank from April 29 to October 1.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve steadily increased interest rates, devaluing low-yielding long-term bonds that SVB had invested in with its clients’ deposits.
Villanova University School of Business professor Noah Barsky detected signs that the bank’s board was becoming increasingly concerned about risk, judging by his disclosures.
Barsky saw SEC documents showing the bank’s risk committee met 18 times in 2022, more than double the seven meetings it held the previous year.
Seven of its 11 board members joined the committee, while other committees had a maximum of five members.
And with Izurieta gone, the committee had no president or experts in financial risk.
“Interestingly, the risk committee excludes its most qualified director: Thomas King, former chief investment banker at Barclays, who joined SVB’s board in 2022,” Barsky wrote in Forbes earlier this month.
“Apparently, he has far more substantive financial services experience than the committee comprised of a Napa vineyard owner, retired healthcare CIO, former US Treasury Undersecretary, venture capital partners, and heads of consulting firms”.
And with Izurieta gone, the committee had no president or experts in financial risk. Izurieta has not been accused of any crime in the bankruptcy of the bank
Izurieta lives in this four-bed, $2 million home in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband and two children in their early 20s. She also owns a three-bedroom lake house in Mineral, Virginia.
Despite the apparent internal turmoil, the bank tried to show courage to investors.
It hid losses on its bonds by classifying them as ‘held to maturity’, indicating that they would not be for sale any time soon, so there was no need to disclose unrealized losses in its public financial reports.
The average bank with at least $1 billion classified just 6% of its debt as “held to maturity” by the end of 2022. But SVB placed 75% of its debt in this category, according to a report from the banking firm. wealth management Janney Montgomery Scott. .
The move kept the veil drawn but left them with dwindling cash reserves just as the Silicon Valley startups that made up the bulk of their customer base were beginning to reduce their checking accounts as the economy tightened. was weakening.
It is not clear if Izurieta had anything to do with this decision. She ended her tenure as chief risk officer on April 29, 2022, but she remained a consultant until October 1.
The bank appointed a new officer, Kim Olson, in January 2023.
SVB’s 2023 shareholder proxy statement said that “the Company began discussions with Ms. Izurieta regarding a transition of the role of Chief Risk Officer in early 2022.”
‘Accordingly, the Company and Ms. Izurieta entered into a separation agreement (without cause) pursuant to which she stepped down from her role as Chief Risk Officer effective April 29, 2022 and transitioned to a non-executive role focused in certain transition-related functions until October 1, 2022.
‘Such duties included supporting and advising on our Risk organization and ongoing initiatives and on the search for an anticipated new Chief Risk Officer.
“Given the importance of the chief risk officer role, it was important to the company that the transition be facilitated in a way that would support continuity and retention within the risk organization as we searched for a new chief risk officer.”
Izurieta has not been charged with any crime in the bank’s disappearance.
DailyMail.com spotted failed Silicon Valley Bank CEO Greg Becker in Maui last week after he was fired amid the bank’s collapse. He has been accused of lying and misrepresenting SVB’s precarious position to investors.
Izurieta did not respond to DailyMail.com’s several attempts for comment.
But its CEO, Greg Becker, and CFO, Daniel Beck, have been accused of lying and misrepresenting SVB’s precarious position with investors, in a civil class action lawsuit filed Monday in California federal court.
Becker’s lawyer, James Kramer, told DailyMail.com: “I’m sure Greg conducted himself appropriately at all times.”
Chandra Vanipenta, a 51-year-old software engineer, is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the failed bank and its leaders.
The complaint accuses Becker and Beck of making “false and misleading statements” to investors in their official filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
It says its 2021 reports ‘did not disclose the risk that future interest rate hikes posed to the Company’s business, even though the Fed signaled that it could raise interest rates in the future, and was certainly prepared. to do so in case of rising inflation. ‘
Vanipenta told DailyMail.com that she filed the legal complaint to “vent some steam” and “express my anger”, accusing Becker of “lying”.