Veteran banker and Lexington, Tn., native Chris Holmes will become the third president of FirstBank since it was purchased by businessman Jim Ayers in 1984. Doug Cruickshanks, who has served as FirstBank president since 2002, will become vice chairman of the bank’s board of directors.
“This is the culmination of a well-executed two-year transition plan,” said Mr. Ayers. “Doug and Chris have worked hard fine-tuning the bank’s strategic plan to ensure that our continued growth honors our tradition of community banking. Chris fits in well with our management team, and I could not have imagined a better cultural fit for FirstBank. I am confident this will be a seamless transition for the bank.”
With $2.1 billion in total assets, FirstBank is among the top five percent of all U.S. banks, and the largest state-chartered bank in Tennessee. FirstBank employs 612 associates in 54 locations across the Southeast.
Mr. Holmes was named chief banking officer and joined the FirstBank board of directors as part of the expansion of the bank’s management team in 2010. Prior to joining FirstBank, Mr. Holmes was director of corporate financial services and chief retail banking officer for Greenville, S.C.-based South Financial Group. He earned a degree in business administration from the University of Memphis in 1986 and began his career with Ernst &Young in Memphis. He worked for 14 years in several management positions for National Commerce Financial including CEO and president of National Commerce Bank Services before joining South Financial Group in South Carolina.
Mr. Holmes is committed to communities and serves on the boards of the Barrett School of Banking in Memphis, Nashville Downtown Partnership, Tennessee Chapter of the March of Dimes and Franklin Road Academy. Mr. Holmes is also one of the Nashville Chamber Prosperity Leaders and a charter member of the Tennessee Financial Literacy Council.
“We have a great team dedicated to being the best bank in the Southeast,” said Mr. Holmes. “I am looking forward to leading this team and continuing FirstBank’s legacy of community support and customer service.”
Mr. Ayers said he will continue to rely on Mr. Cruickshanks’ experience as the bank expands. His responsibilities will include corporate governance and regulatory relationships.
“FirstBank achieved a number of important goals during Doug’s tenure as president, including becoming one of the largest independent banks in Tennessee,” said Mr. Ayers. “I relied on Doug’s experience as we successfully navigated our way through the national economic downturn. I will continue to rely on his insights and experience as a member of the board.”
Mr. Cruickshanks joined FirstBank in 2002 after retiring from Bank of America, where he had a 33-year career, as Tennessee president. His volunteer work includes serving on the boards of the Canby Robinson Society and The Land Trust for Tennessee.
“Working with Jim Ayers has been one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences in my career as a banker,” said Mr. Cruickshanks. “I am proud of what we have accomplished over the last 10 years, and look forward to many more years of working with Jim, Chris, the board and the leadership team at FirstBank.”