Ahmad Thomas brings nearly 17 years of experience working both in and on behalf of non-profits, governments and businesses. As incoming CEO, Thomas is charged with leading Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) in urgent action to address racial justice, equity and opportunity with its 350+ member companies in efforts that strengthen Silicon Valley and America’s competitiveness, economic strength and innovation while also benefiting employees, their families, and all residents of our community.
Thomas is focused on partnering with member company executives, elected officials, and community leaders to utilize his unique skill set and expertise across public policy, finance, and technology to create significant and lasting change in the Valley. This entails generating substantial infrastructure investments to support affordable housing, transportation, renewable energy, and education to ensure no communities in our region are left behind. Importantly, these priorities in creating a more equitable Silicon Valley dovetail with Thomas’ bold vision for racial equity and social justice catalyzed by member companies acting in concert to identify, attract, and hire diverse candidates for roles from the Boardroom to the C-suites and beyond.
Prior to joining SVLG, Thomas worked as an investment banker at Barclays where he specialized in structuring and financing public infrastructure, social impact, and development projects across multiple sectors. He held a variety of important roles during his tenure, including leading Barclays’ state of California and Silicon Valley regional municipal banking teams, as well as leading the Firm’s public sector coverage of social impact engagements in the 13 western U.S. states.
Thomas served as a lead banker on several innovative transactions, most notably executing the first ever Social Bonds issue for a non-profit in the U.S. municipal bond market. The Social Bonds were issued on behalf of HealthRIGHT 360 – a statewide non-profit healthcare organization providing care for underserved groups including homeless people, and those battling addiction. This successful transaction was recognized as the “Social Project Bond of the Year” by Environmental Finance.
Thomas understands the crucial nature of public-private partnership and the intersection of policy and innovation that drives Silicon Valley and the greater economy, having served as a senior aide to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein in Washington, D.C. It was in that capacity where he first worked with SVLG on a variety of economic and tax issues relevant to sustaining the competitive edge that makes Silicon Valley the world’s technology capital – and saw firsthand the importance of the work SVLG does in strengthening its communities through impactful initiatives.
As the Senator’s advisor on finance and economic policy, he was responsible for tax, financial services, critical infrastructure, federal budget, and labor issues. There he helped to develop five bills signed into law, including legislation that reformed mortgaging industry lending practices and standardized FDIC procedures on foreclosure prevention. Thomas also represented the Senator in hundreds of meetings with municipalities, elected officials, entrepreneurs, and business executives where he prioritized open communication and a solutions-oriented approach to resolving challenges.
In addition to his background in government, Thomas’ public finance investment banking expertise includes lease-backed financings for counties and states, revenue backed bonds for tribal governments, community health providers and transportation authorities, and general obligation debt issued on behalf of community colleges and school districts.
Thomas was recognized as a 2018 “Rising Star” by The Bond Buyer, the leading municipal bond market publication. He has also received a prestigious Barclays Global Citizenship and Diversity Award for his transaction work as a deal team lead in enabling sustainable growth.
Thomas lives in Menlo Park with his wife, Dr. Reena Thomas, and two sons. Dr. Thomas is a practicing physician at Stanford Hospital; in addition to serving on the medical faculty she is the Associate Dean for Diversity in Medical Education at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Thomas serves on the Board of Directors of HealthRIGHT 360 and volunteers time in advisory roles at several start-up companies, including a healthcare-related venture that was recently selected for Y Combinator. Thomas enjoys active outdoor pursuits and has participated in a National Outdoor Leadership School expedition, trekking across a glacier in Alaska. He is an avid football and Bay Area sports fan, wood-fired BBQ enthusiast, and dog lover.
Thomas holds a B.S. from Cornell University, Master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.