How do you rebuild after a crisis? That’s a question SVB’s new CEO faces after the now infamous bank run.
Following the takeover of SVB by regulators, Tim Mayopoulos was appointed the CEO of a newly created, full-service, FDIC-operated Silicon Valley Bridge Bank, N.A. The goal is to get back all of the capabilities that clients had access to last week before all of the events unfolded, Mayopoulos explained during a Zoom call with bank clients on Wednesday.
“So obviously, the former CEO and CFO have left,” Mayopoulos said. “My responsibility is to evaluate the current management team. Obviously, I’m only in day three here, but overall, I’m quite impressed with the professionalism, the focus, the client centricity, and the resilience of this team.”
Be intentional and strategic
Simmons University president Lynn Perry Wooten and Wharton School dean Erika H. James are the coauthors of the book, The Prepared Leader: Emerge from Any Crisis More Resilient than Before. Wooten shared with me steps a CEO can take to evaluate a leadership team’s strengths following a crisis.
“CEOs should do two things,” Wooten explains. “First, they should assess how the team—individually and collectively—performed during the crisis. Second, CEOs should be intentional and strategic about what they want to see in their team moving forward, and examine how the current composition matches up against that.”
The key qualities CEOs should consider in evaluating the team’s overall strength—”its resiliency and ability to create a climate of trust and psychological safety,” she says.
“Team members should feel safe sharing ideas and constructive feedback,” Wooten says. “In addition, CEOs should determine how effective the team is at broad systems thinking, and its willingness to learn and seek out information, expertise, and knowledge from a broad range of sources. These competencies are the hallmarks of effective and productive teams.”
‘Give us a chance’
In a situation where a good portion of SVB clients lost confidence in the bank—depositors attempted to withdraw $42 billion in a single day—Mayopoulos, a member of the FDIC systemic resolution advisory committee, and a former Fannie Mae CEO, must instill confidence going forward.
“We very much want to rebuild trust with you,” he said on the call. “We understand that trust got eroded last week. We know that trust is fragile.”
“I guess all I would ask is, give us a chance to win back your trust and confidence,” he said. “Give us a chance to continue to serve your needs.”
So, how can a CEO build trust with clients? “It is impossible to rebuild trust following a crisis without first learning the lessons from the experience,” Wooten explains. “And, articulating how those lessons will be translated into action particularly as it relates to improved processes and systems.”
However, unfortunately, leaders too often fail to learn from a crisis, she says. They may “believe it won’t happen again, or it’s because they fail to seek out the diverse perspectives required to make necessary decisions and changes,” Wooten says.
She recommends that the CEO assemble a post-crisis review team that has different perspectives, knowledge, and expertise. “This team should help determine, document, and transparently share the lessons from the crisis, along with the actions that will be taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” Wooten says.
The bank is open for business, Mayopoulos said. And how leadership will perform is certainly under a microscope.
The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) 2023 North American Pulse of Internal Audit Survey includes the perspectives of more than 550 internal audit leaders at public and private companies and not-for-profit organizations. The survey found that 78% of respondents said technology is a high or very high driver of risk to their organization, followed by IT (57%). Respondents were asked to indicate which areas they include as part of their audits in general. Answers indicate that auditors often take a holistic approach and consider a broad range of issues, according to IIA. Fraud (86%), IT (80%), and cybersecurity (67%) are three top areas auditors at publicly traded companies said they include in audits.
The Missing Link Between ESG and Corporate Innovation, a report published in Wharton’s business journal, outlines a framework for transforming ESG from a corporate obligation to an engine for growth to benefit all stakeholders.
Kate Ferry was named CFO and executive director at Burberry PLC, a global luxury brand, and will join the company by early September. Ferry will succeed Julie Brown, currently Burberry chief operating and financial officer. As announced last year, Brown will leave Burberry on April 1. Brown will become CFO at GSK PLC, a health care company. Ferry is currently CFO of McLaren Group. Before McLaren, she was group CFO of TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC. Ferry has also worked at Merrill Lynch as a director within the retail sector equity research team and as corporate affairs director at Carphone Warehouse PLC. She began her career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in London.
Carolyn Burke was named EVP and CFO at PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG) (the parent company of Pacific Gas and Electric Company), effective May 4. Burke was most recently EVP and CFO at Chevron Phillips Chemical Company and previously EVP of strategy at Dynegy. Before Dynegy, she served as global controller of Investment Bank, and Global Commodities at JP Morgan Chase. Burke was also VP and corporate controller at NRG Energy, Inc. Burke has acted in an advisory capacity to PG&E since January 2023. She will succeed Chris Foster, who will leave PG&E following its first quarter earnings call on May 4, to join CenterPoint Energy as its new EVP and CFO.
“The regulatory response has so far been swift, and decisive actions have helped stave off contagion risks.”
—BlackRock CEO Larry Fink wrote in a letter to investors Wednesday of SVB’s cleanup, Fortune reported. However, Fink warned that there’s still fear of more banks failing. “Markets remain on edge. Will asset-liability mismatches be the second domino to fall?” he wrote.
This is the web version of CFO Daily, a newsletter on the trends and individuals shaping corporate finance. Sign up to get CFO Daily delivered free to your inbox.