A Conversation with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker

Greg Becker conversation with Governor Baker

Silicon Valley Bank CEO Greg Becker speaks with Mass. Governor Charlie Baker at District Hall in Boston.
Photo: John Kreis Photography

As part of my series of conversations with influencers in the global innovation ecosystem, I had the opportunity to speak with the new Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker. We held a great discussion in Boston at a networking event attended by 75 of our clients representing 40 companies. 

Gov. Baker is uniquely qualified to be a catalyst for the innovation economy.  In addition to his experience in public service, he has been a corporate CEO and venture capitalist.

Not surprisingly, we agree innovation is alive and well in Boston. In fact, SVB's annual Innovation Economy Outlook survey found seven in 10 executives in the Northeast said they expect to expand their workforce in 2015, and 55 percent of those planning to hire told us they expect headcount to grow more than 20 percent. For some context, a recent survey from personal finance website NerdWallet reported that 57 of every 1,000 Boston-area jobs are in tech – matching places like Austin, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina.

I welcomed Gov. Baker's call for government to be a partner in continuing to promote the growth of the innovation economy, but, as he said, it can never be the driver. The drivers are the company leaders and investors, many of whom joined us for the conversation at District Hall.

With the search for talent on every innovation company's mind these days, it was refreshing to hear Gov. Baker lay out his priorities for reforming public education in the Bay State by implementing new approaches to improve teaching and the learning environment. For example, in our highly competitive global society, the century-old school schedule is out of date.

Visiting innovation hubs around the country and the world gives me new ideas, and inspires me to make more trips to places where innovators and investors are disrupting industries in pursuit of a better future. I believe the Massachusetts innovation economy is poised for even greater things with industry-leading tech and life science companies, the high concentration of world-renowned academic institutions and visionary government leaders. I thank Gov. Baker and our Boston clients for the vibrant conversation.

About the Author

A recognized leader in the innovation economy, Greg Becker heads the only bank dedicated to the global innovation sector.

Greg believes the innovation economy brings together talented people who are passionate about turning great ideas into sustainable businesses to create jobs, grow the economy, and enable more people to unlock opportunity.

Under his leadership for a decade, Silicon Valley Bank has consistently outpaced other banks’ growth rates – enabling SVB to expand the services it provides to thousands of fast-growing companies and their investors. In the US, SVB is among America’s Top 10 Best Banks (Forbes) and Most Responsible Companies (Newsweek) and annually ranks as a Top Corporate Philanthropist, member of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index and among the best places to work.

Greg joined SVB in 1993, and has spent his career championing innovation, helping entrepreneurs and their investors scale across the US and globally, building SVB for the long-term and expanding to include nine countries. Working with employees, clients and partners, he has also prioritized investments and initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion at SVB and across the larger technology workforce, foster economic development and support community well-being.

Since 2011, Greg has served as president and CEO of SVB Financial Group and CEO of Silicon Valley Bank. Earlier, he held various senior leadership positions including co-founder and managing director of SVB Capital, chief banking officer and president of Silicon Valley Bank.

Greg holds key positions that enable him to contribute to policymaking and advocate for the innovation economy at the highest levels: In 2019, he was elected a Class A Director for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and chairman of TechNet. He is a member of the Executive Council of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which he chaired from 2014 to 2017. Greg also served as a member of the US Department of Commerce Digital Economy Board of Advisors from 2016 to 2017.

Greg earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Indiana University.