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Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

James W. Ayers
James W. Ayers
Executive Chairman of the Board
James W. Ayers Jim Ayers, one of the state’s most successful entrepreneurs and leading philanthropists, has spearheaded the growth of FirstBank from a single branch in rural West Tennessee into the third largest Tennessee-based.

After building successful health care and real estate ventures, Ayers and a business partner in 1984 bought Farmers State Bank in Scotts Hill. They moved the home office to Lexington, Tenn., in 1986 after acquiring First National Bank of Lexington, and changed the bank’s name to FirstBank. Ayers shortly thereafter became the bank’s sole stockholder.

Mr. Ayers is perhaps most proud of his contributions to increasing educational opportunities for young people and improving the quality of health care in his native Tennessee.

In 1999, he established The Ayers Foundation, which supports a wide range of programs and institutions with an emphasis on education and operates a highly respected scholarship program for high school graduates. He and his wife, Janet Ayers, also established and funded the Ayers Institute at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, which conducts advanced cancer research at Vanderbilt University, the Ayers Children’s Hospital in Jackson, Tenn., and the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation at Lipscomb University. In 2016, the Ayers Foundation donated $15 million to Belmont University in Nashville for a need-based student scholarship fund.

In addition to his business interests, he is active in a number of civic, educational and charitable organizations. He is the recipient of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2007 Philanthropist of the Year Award, the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America, the Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award from The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, and the 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Memphis.

Ayers was named a Leader in Banking Excellence by the Tennessee Bankers Association, and holds honorary doctorates from Freed-Hardeman University, Union University and Bethel University.

Ayers received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in accounting from Memphis State University, becoming one of the first in his family to attend college. He is an avid outdoorsman.
J. Jonathan Ayers
J. Jonathan Ayers
J. Jonathan Ayers Jon Ayers is a private investor and entrepreneur. He began his career in his family’s banking business with FirstBank in Lexington, Tennessee while attending high school. Ayers’ professional roles in banking over the last 25 years have spanned the areas of financial analysis, commercial lending, branch office management, and personal banking.

Ayers is owner of Ayers Real Estate Service, a Nashville-based firm that focuses its attention on commercial real estate investment in existing and to-be-developed properties throughout the Southeast and Midwest regions. Ayers also serves high net-worth and institutional wealth management and investment advisory clients with the company he co-founded in 2009, Ayers Capital, LLC.

Additionally, Ayers has served as senior manager or partner for Group Data Services, Inc./ProAccura; First Financial Investors Management, LLC, a private equity fund invested in startup banks; and Ayers Asset Management, Inc., a family-owned and directed investment advisory and management company.

Ayers holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Middle Tennessee State University. He is a graduate of the Southeastern School of Banking and the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University. Ayers holds an active Series 65 securities license.

William F. Andrews
William F. Andrews
William F. Andrews William F. Andrews is former chairman of Corrections Corporation of America who also served as president of Massey Investment Co. and as a principal of Kohlberg & Company.

During his long business career, Andrews has been chairman of seven public companies and seven private companies, including CCA, Amdura Corporation, Katy Industries, Scoville Inc., and Singer Sewing Co. He has served on 20 public company boards and 16 private company boards since his career began after a three-year tour in the U.S. Air Force as a captain, pilot and squadron commander. Currently, he is on the boards of Harpeth Capital and Buffkin Group, both private companies in Nashville.

Andrews received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland and his MBA from Seton Hall University.

He is chairman of the board’s audit committee.
Agenia W. Clark
Agenia W. Clark
Agenia W. Clark Agenia Clark is president and CEO of the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee. She was a founding corporate board member of Avenue Bank, which went public in 2015 prior to its merger with Pinnacle Financial Corp.

Clark was vice president of human resources for the Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. prior to taking her leadership position with the Girls Scouts. She also was senior director of human resources at Vanderbilt University.

Her board experience includes Avenue Bank, the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, and as chairwoman of the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee. Clark was also a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents. She is on the board of the Ayers Foundation, the philanthropic organization of FirstBank Chairman Jim Ayers’ family.

Clark, who received her Bachelor of Science and MBA degrees from the University of Tennessee, has been recognized with several awards for her civic leadership, including being named in 2015 and 2016 to the “Nashville 100 Most Powerful” lists.

She is a member of the board’s compensation committee.
James L. Exum
James L. Exum
James L. Exum Exum is executive vice president and a board member of Murray Guard Inc., a Jackson, Tenn.-based contractor for security services provided by uniformed security officers. He has been on the FirstBank board of directors since 1998.

Exum previously was president of the Tom B. McClamroch Co., which provides insurance, real estate and construction services, and worked for 20 years at TotalREACH Inc., a division of Murray Guard specializing in cable advertising sales and production.

He is active in the Jackson community, serving as chairman of the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau, chairman of the Jackson Amphitheater, a member of the board of the Carnegie Museum. Exum, who attended Lambuth College, is a past recipient of the West Tennessee Healthcare Jackson Leadership Award. He has also served a number of other local and state boards, including the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce and as chair the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

He and his wife, Val, have two children.
Christopher T. Holmes
Christopher T. Holmes
Christopher T. Holmes Chris Holmes, President and CEO of FirstBank, is responsible for leading and managing all facets of the bank’s operations, including establishing its long-term goals, strategies and corporate vision.

Prior to joining FirstBank in 2010 as Chief Banking Officer, Chris served as the Director of Corporate Financial Services and the Chief Retail Banking Officer for Greenville, S.C.-based South Financial Group. Previously, he worked for 20 years in the Memphis-area market, first with Ernst & Young and then in several management positions for National Bank of Commerce, which was acquired by SunTrust, and Trustmark National Bank.

Holmes, whose career has included work in 14 countries around the world, was named FirstBank President in 2012 and CEO the following year.

Chris joined the Memphis office of the accounting firm Ernst & Young after receiving his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1986 from the University of Memphis. He began his banking career with Memphis-based National Commerce Financial, the parent company of National Bank of Commerce, as a regional controller and later was promoted to the position of client relationship and business development manager of the bank’s in-store banking unit, National Commerce Bank Services (NCBS).

After serving as Chief Financial Officer for NCBS, he was named CEO and president of the subsidiary, where he was instrumental in developing in-store banking relationships throughout the U.S., Europe and South America. Chris also developed the bank’s co-branded, in-store banking services with Walmart.

He remained with the bank after its acquisition by SunTrust Banks, Inc., until he became president of Trustmark National Bank’s North Region in 2005. At Trustmark, Chris served as President of North Region, leading the Memphis market and supervising five other community bank presidents.

Chris serves on the boards of the Barret Graduate School of Banking in Memphis, Nashville Downtown Partnership, the Nashville Symphony, and is a charter member of the Tennessee Financial Literacy Council. A 2014 graduate of Leadership Nashville, Chris is an active member of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, serving as Chairman of the Chamber’s Vital Signs Action Team, a member of the Chamber’s Prosperity Leader’s Team and as part of the Leadership Cabinet of the Chamber’s Partnership 2020 initiative.
Orrin H. Ingram
Orrin H. Ingram
Orrin H. Ingram Orrin H. Ingram is President and Chief Executive Officer of Ingram Industries Inc., a Nashville-based privately held company with two operating divisions: Ingram Content Group and Ingram Marine Group. He is also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ingram Marine Group.

Ingram received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University in 1982. He immediately began his career in the family business and has held numerous positions over the years. He became President and CEO of Ingram Industries Inc. in 1999.

Ingram, is on the board of Coca-Cola European Partners and is Chairman of the Board of Overseers at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. He is past Chairman of the Board of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and a past member of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust.

Mr. Ingram is an avid sports enthusiast. He is past Chairman of the United States Polo Association and past Chairman of the Polo Training Foundation. He is on the board of directors of the Masters of Foxhounds Association Foundation and serves as Master of the Hillsboro Hounds organization.
Stuart C. McWhorter
Stuart C. McWhorter
Stuart C. McWhorter McWhorter, co-founder and Chairman of Clayton Associates, has over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship and early stage investing. Founded in 1996, Clayton Associates serves as a venture investment firm primarily focused on the early stage investment cycle in the healthcare and technology industries. Clayton Associates has managed five venture capital funds, which has invested over $150 million in over 80 operating companies in the Southeast.

In addition, McWhorter served for one year as the CEO of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, a Nashville-based innovation hub that helps entrepreneurs create, launch and grow scalable businesses.

Prior to Clayton Associates, Mr. McWhorter was part of the founding management team of OrthoLink Physicians Corporation, where he served as Vice President of Managed Care and Vice President of Development. Previously, he served in various management positions with Tenet Healthcare-owned Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala.

Mr. McWhorter has also served as adjunct professor at Belmont University teaching healthcare and entrepreneurship. McWhorter received his Masters in Health Administration from The University of Alabama-Birmingham and B.S. in Management from Clemson University.

Emily J. Reynolds
Emily J. Reynolds
Emily J. Reynolds Reynolds is Vice Chair of the Tennessee Board of Regents and served as the 31st secretary of the U.S. Senate, where she managed the Senate’s legislative, financial and administrative operations from 2003-2007.

A Nashville native, she started her public service career as a special assistant to former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker Jr. and later served as U.S. Sen. Bill Frist’s state director and chief of staff.

In 2010, Gov. Phil Bredesen appointed Reynolds to the Tennessee Board of Regents, which governs the 46 state universities, community colleges and technology centers outside the University of Tennessee system. She was reappointed to a six-year term by Gov. Bill Haslam in 2012.

Reynolds, who recently retired as the senior vice president for government relations for the Tennessee Valley Authority, is on the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee board of directors.

A graduate of Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.
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