Former Silicon Valley Bank Chief Risk Officer Laura Izurieta left the financial institution in April 2022 with more than $7.1 million in a termination package, leaving the bank without a risk officer for eight months before its collapse, the Daily Mail reported Monday.
According to the report, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing from SVB revealed that Izurieta, 62, was approached by the bank for termination, after she sold $4,176,354 in company stock in December 2021.
Also, the bank filing said the termination was “without cause,” meaning it was not a conduct issue.
Before leaving SVB on April 29, 2022, Izurieta worked out a termination “exit” package that included $512,500 in base pay, a $450,000 bonus, $457,192 severance, and an additional $1.5 million to remain a consultant during the search for a successor, the Daily Mail reports.
“Accordingly, the Company and Ms. Izurieta entered into a separation (without cause) agreement pursuant to which she ceased serving in her role as Chief Risk Officer as of April 29, 2022, and moved into a non-executive role focused on certain transition-related duties until Oct. 1, 2022,” the bank’s 2023 shareholder proxy statement said.
The statement continued: “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 significance of the position of the Chief Risk Officer, it was important to the Company that the transition be facilitated in a manner that supported continuity and retention within the Risk organization as we searched for a new Chief Risk Officer.”
While with the bank, however, Izurieta reportedly invested heavily in long-term bonds with very low interest rates, helping amass what would become a $1.8 billion loss to the institution — due to rapidly increasing interest rates that decimated its portfolio and led to its collapse March 10.
In reviewing the bank’s filings, Villanova University Business School professor Noah Barsky wrote in Forbes magazine earlier this month that there were signs the bank was worried about its investment risks, with the risk committee meeting 18 times in 2022, more than double the seven meetings in 2021.
“Intriguingly, the risk committee excludes its most qualified director — Thomas King, a former Barclays investment banking CEO, who joined SVB’s board in 2022,” the Daily Mail wrote, when chronicling Barsky’s Forbes piece.
“[King] ostensibly has far greater substantive financial services experience than the committee comprised of a Napa vineyard owner, a retired healthcare CIO, a former U.S. Treasury undersecretary, venture capital partners and consulting firm heads,” the Daily Mail added.
According to the Daily Mail, the bank appointed Kim Olson to the position of chief risk officer in January, and Izurieta has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
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