Finance & Insurance

Long known for its robust commercial banking industry, North Carolina has become a magnet for global financial powers. The state’s relatively low costs and talent pool have prompted Dimensional Fund Advisors, Fidelity, TIAA, Vanguard and others to add tech or marketing centers. Still, locally owned financial institutions are showing resiliency and growth.

ADAM ABRAM

non-executive chair | James River Group

Raleigh

The Harvard graduate founded several N.C. financial and real estate companies, including insurer Front Royal, Piedmont Community Bank Holdings, which became Yadkin Financial, and developer Adaron Group. James River is an insurance holding company.

ANITA HUGHES BACHMANN

CEO | UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of North Carolina

Greensboro

A leader of the largest U.S. health insurer, Bachmann, 60, also chairs the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and is on the boards of the Greensboro Chamber and NCWorks Commission. She has a master’s degree in health services administration from the Medical University of South Carolina.

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CATHY BESSANT

chief operations and technology officer | Bank of America

Charlotte

Bessant, 60, leads a team of 95,000 people. American Banker consistently names the  University of Michigan graduate one of the most powerful women in banking.

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JEFF BROWN

CEO | Ally Financial

Charlotte

The former Bank of America treasurer joined Ally in 2009 and became CEO in 2015, helping its transition to digital financial services. Brown, 48, is a Clemson University graduate and has an executive MBA from Queens University of Charlotte, where he chairs the board of trustees.

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RICHARD BRYANT

CEO | Capital Investment Companies

Raleigh

The Gastonia native, 61, co-founded the financial-services firm in 1984, soon after graduating from N.C. State University. Brokers affiliated with Capital manage about $8 billion in client assets.

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LARRY CARROLL

chairman emeritus | Carroll Financial Associates

Charlotte

The Austin Peay University graduate, 69, formed a firm that manages $4 billion in client assets.

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DOUG CHITTENDEN

executive vice president, head of client relationships | TIAA

Charlotte

A TIAA employee for more than 30 years, Chittenden leads the unit that serves more than 15,000 universities and other retirement-plan sponsors. Last year, the Rutgers University graduate was named to the executive committee reporting to the company’s CEO.

RON DAY

founding director, president, CEO | First Carolina Financial Services

Raleigh

Day, 55, led an investor group that acquired the bank in 2012. The UNC Chapel Hill graduate moved the $1 billion bank’s headquarters from Rocky Mount and raised more than $30 million.

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CAROL DECKBAR

executive vice president, institutional investment and endowment services | TIAA

Charlotte

Deckbar was named to her current role in 2016 after leading the company’s asset management division. The Elon University graduate previously worked for Bank of America, Regions Bank and Evergreen Investments in Charlotte.

JIM DUNN

chief investment officer, CEO | Verger Capital

Winston-Salem

The former chief investment officer at Wake Forest University founded the company in 2014 and manages $1.9 billion in assets for nonprofit and endowment clients. Dunn, 48, played varsity soccer for Villanova University. He previously worked at Wilshire Capital Management in California.

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PORTER DURHAM

managing director | Global Endowment Management

Charlotte

Durham and his team manage more than $8 billion in investments for mostly nonprofit and educational clients, including UNC Charlotte and RTI International. The Duke University School of Law graduate joined the company in 2007 after working for the Duke Endowment.

ROB EDWARDS

co-founder, partner | Ridgemont Equity Partners

Charlotte

The private-equity firm has invested more than $5 billion in middle-market companies since its founding in 1993. The graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and Harvard Business School previously worked for Bank of America and McKinsey & Co.

LEE FITE

Carolinas regional president | Fifth Third Bank

Charlotte

Fite, 49, joined the Cincinnati-based bank in 2007 after working for RBC and First Union. He’s overseen the bank’s Carolinas and Virginia markets since 2018. Fite has a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University and a Wake Forest University MBA.

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CHARLES FREDERICK

N.C. market president | TD Bank

Asheville

Frederick has more than 35 years of local banking experience in his hometown. The Campbell University graduate has led TD Bank’s regional efforts since 2010. His great-great-grandfather was the president of Hendersonville’s First National Bank in the 1920s.

MIKE FRENO

president, chairman, CEO | Barings

Charlotte

The Wake Forest University graduate was tapped to lead the $354 billion financial-services company in 2020, succeeding longtime leader Tom Finke. Freno joined the MassMutual Insurance-owned company in 2005 and became president in February 2020.

CHARLES GRIGG

managing partner | Carousel Capital

Charlotte

The private equity group was started in 1996 by Erskine Bowles and Nelson Schwab to invest in Southeastern middle-market companies. Grigg joined the firm in 1997 after stints at Orion Partners and Smith Barney. He has a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a Wharton School MBA.

PETER GWALTNEY

president, CEO | North Carolina Bankers Association

Raleigh

Gwaltney has been the chief advocate for the state’s community banks since 2015, succeeding longtime leader Thad Woodard. The Louisiana State University graduate worked for the Bayou State’s banking association for 16 years before heading to Raleigh.

TODD HALL

president, CEO | Truliant Federal Credit Union

Winston-Salem

The Wake Forest University MBA graduate succeeded credit union leader Marc Schaefer in 2020. He joined Truliant in 2012 as chief operating officer. Truliant has $2.7 billion in assets and 250,000 members.

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RAMSEY HAMADI

CEO | Triad Business Bank

Greensboro

The Marine Corps veteran opened one of the state’s first new banks in a decade in March 2020 and achieved assets of
$221 million by Dec. 31. He previously worked for NewBridge Bank. He has an MBA from Maryville University of St. Louis.

JIM HANSEN

regional president, Eastern Carolinas | PNC

Raleigh

The N.C. State University and UNC Chapel Hill MBA graduate, 42, oversees the Pittsburgh-based bank’s operations from the Triangle to the coast. He chaired the Raleigh chamber and Research Triangle Regional Partnership.

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FRANK HOLDING JR.

CEO | First Citizens Bancshares

Raleigh

He is a third-generation leader of the largest U.S. family-owned bank, which dates to 1898. The UNC Chapel Hill and Wharton MBA graduate is overseeing the $2 billion acquisition of CIT Group, creating a top 20 U.S. bank with $100 billion in assets. He is a former chairman of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

BOB INGRAM

general partner | Hatteras Venture Partners

Durham

Ingram is an iconic North Carolina leader who helps develop life-sciences companies through the private-equity firm. The Eastern Illinois University graduate retired as CEO of Glaxo Wellcome in 2003. He’s advised multiple presidents on health and cancer policy.

STEVE JONES

CEO | Dogwood State Bank

Raleigh

The East Carolina University graduate, 52, helped an investor group take over a Morehead City bank’s charter in 2017, then recapitalized and rebranded it with plans to go statewide. Jones previously had senior posts at RBC and Yadkin Bank. He formerly chaired ECU’s board.

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KELLY KING

chairman, CEO | Truist Financial

Charlotte

Over nearly 50 years, the Wake County native helped guide BB&T to become one of the largest banks in the country. The East Carolina University graduate led the merger in 2019 with SunTrust that created the nation’s sixth-largest bank. He succeeded John Allison as BB&T’s CEO in 2009 and is stepping down in September. King, 72, has been a key civic leader, chairing the NC Rural Center and many other Triad and statewide groups.

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DOUG LEBDA

founder, chairman, CEO | LendingTree

Charlotte

The University of Virginia graduate founded the online marketplace in 1996. LendingTree’s market value is about $3 billion. Lebda, who owned 16.5% as of April 2020, received compensation of $110 million between 2017 and 2019.

MICHAEL LORD

president, CEO | State Employees Credit Union

Raleigh

Lord, 68, succeeded longtime leader Jim Blaine in 2016 after serving as chief financial officer. The N.C. State University graduate is retiring in August.

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MARY MACK

consumer banking | Wells Fargo

Fort Mill, S.C.

The Davidson College graduate, 58, is among the bank’s highest-ranking executives in North Carolina, where it employs more than 35,000. She is CEO of consumer and small business banking.

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CHIP MAHAN

founder, chairman, CEO | Live Oak Bancshares

Wilmington

Mahan founded the bank to focus on Small Business Administration lending in 2008 after a three-decade career in banking and financial technology. The Washington & Lee University graduate also is a co-founder of software vendor nCino and the Canapi Ventures investment firm.

RICK MANSKE

CEO | Parsec Financial

Weaverville

The Western Michigan University graduate, 51, runs an investment adviser based in downtown Asheville. His team oversees nearly $3.5 billion in assets under management.

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AARON MARCUS

head of global human resources | Dimensional Fund Advisors

Charlotte

Marcus is a top executive at the Austin, Texas-based money manager, which opened its East Coast headquarters in Charlotte in 2019. The Brown University graduate joined DFA in 2008 after 14 years at Goldman Sachs. DFA advises on about $600 billion.

REID MARKS

Triad region president | Pinnacle Financial

Greensboro

Marks worked for Bank of America for 26 years then Regions Bank for five before joining Pinnacle predecessor BNC Bancorp in 2009. The Wake Forest University graduate leads the Nashville-based bank’s Triad market, which has about 400 employees.

MIKE MAYER

president | First Bancorp

Southern Pines

Mayer, 61, has helped the Southern Pines bank grow to more than $7 billion in assets since joining in 2014. The Clemson University graduate led two other community banks after more than two decades at Bank of America.

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BRIAN MCCARTHY

global head, Investment Management Group Operational Risk | Vanguard Group

Charlotte

McCarthy, 49, has worked his way up to be a senior leader at the giant money manager, which is based in Malvern, Pa. The Boston College graduate earned an MBA from St. Joseph’s University.

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ED MCMAHAN

managing partner | Falfurrias Capital Partners

Charlotte

The UNC Chapel Hill graduate, 46, co-founded the private equity firm with Hugh McColl Jr. and Marc Oken in 2006. He has a Northwestern University MBA.

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FIELDING MILLER

CEO | Captrust

Raleigh

Miller, 60, co-founded the Raleigh money-management company in 1997 after working for Interstate/Johnson Lane. His firm advises on more than $300 billion in clients’ assets. Chicago-based GTCR bought a 25% stake last year.

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RICHARD MOORE

CEO | First Bancorp

Raleigh

Moore, 60, has led the state’s largest community bank since 2012, after serving two terms as state treasurer. The Wake Forest University law school graduate manages more than 100 branches, 1,000 employees and $7 billion in assets. He also earned a graduate degree from the London School of Economics.

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SUZANNE MORRISON

executive vice president, division executive for commercial banking | Wells Fargo

Charlotte

The UNC Chapel Hill graduate, 49, oversees commercial banking in the Carolinas for businesses with as much as $2 billion in revenue.

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ROBERT NEWELL

president | Franklin Street Partners

Chapel Hill

After retiring as president of Wachovia Trust in 2009, he joined the investment advisory firm. Newell, 62, is an N.C. State University graduate.

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AMANDA NORTON

chief risk officer | Wells Fargo

Charlotte

Norton, 54, became the first female chief risk officer for a major U.S. bank in 2018. The University of Bath graduate had been a senior risk executive at JPMorgan Chase.

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MICHAEL PAINTER

co-founder, managing partner | Plexus Capital

Raleigh

The UNC Chapel Hill graduate co-founded the investment company in 2005. It has raised $1.5 billion and made more than 125 investments. He previously worked for RBC Bank’s Centura Capital investment fund, along with other financial firms in Raleigh and New York.

ART PAPPAS

founder, managing general partner | Pappas Capital

Durham

The veteran investor has infused more than
$540 million in life-sciences companies
since his firm opened in 1994. He previously had senior posts for GlaxoSmithKline, Abbott and Dow Chemical. He has a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and an Xavier University MBA.

EDWIN POSTON

co-founder, general partner | TrueBridge Capital Partners

Chapel Hill

The former head of private equity at the Rockefeller Foundation co-founded the firm with Mel Williams in 2007. Investments have included Airbnb, Dropbox and Slack. A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, Poston also has law and MBA degrees from Emory University.   

CHUCK PURVIS

president, CEO | Coastal Federal Credit Union

Raleigh

The UNC Greensboro graduate, 63, has worked in the credit union industry for 40 years, including the last nine leading Coastal.

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DAVID REA

president | Salem Investment Counselors

Winston-Salem

Salem ranked No. 1 on CNBC’s list of top financial advisory firms two years in a row. The Wake Forest University School of Law and Indiana University MBA graduate, 65, worked for a big accounting firm before joining Salem in 1984.

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BRIAN REID

Triangle banking president | TowneBank

Raleigh

The Ohio State University graduate, 53, worked for Paragon Bank before its sale in 2018, helping it grow to more than $1 billion in Triangle assets.

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LEE ROBERTS

managing partner | SharpVue Capital

Raleigh

The former state budget director, 52, founded the Raleigh investment company in 2016. He has a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a law degree from Georgetown University.

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WILLIAM “BILL” ROGERS JR.

president, chief operating officer | Truist Financial

Charlotte

The Greensboro native, 61, will become CEO in September after helping lead the merger with BB&T. The UNC Chapel Hill graduate joined Atlanta-based SunTrust in 1980 and became CEO in 2011.

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JIM ROSE

state president | United Community Bank

Raleigh

The Wake Forest University graduate, 54, oversees more than 30 branches in the state for the Blairsville, Ga.-based bank, which he joined in 2017. He previously worked for Yadkin Bank.

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ROBERT RUSSO

founder, CEO | Independent Advisor Alliance

Charlotte

The University of Tennessee graduate founded his company in 2013 to assist independent investment advisers affiliated with firms including LPL Financial, Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade. The business has grown to more than 216 advisers. He previously founded another advisory firm, Blackbridge Financial.

JASON SANDNER

chief operating officer | Curi

Raleigh

The Towson University graduate will succeed Dale Jenkins as CEO in July. He joined the company, formerly Medical Mutual of North Carolina, in 2011. Curi offers liability insurance and other services for physicians. He is on the UNC Rex Healthcare board.

JIM SILLS

CEO | M&F Bancorp

Durham

The Morehouse College graduate, 62, has led the second-oldest Black-owned U.S. bank since 2014. He’s a banking industry veteran and former chief information officer for the state of Delaware.

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ANDREA SMITH

chief administrative officer | Bank of America

Charlotte

A top executive at the second-biggest U.S. bank, Smith, 54, also is a key Charlotte leader, co-chairing the Leading on Opportunity Council. Her day job involves making sure BofA operates smoothly in 90 markets while helping integrate its eight business lines. The Southern Methodist University graduate previously led Global Human Resources.

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GREGORY SMITH

president, CEO | Smith Salley & Associates

Greensboro

With a bachelor’s degree from N.C. State University and a UNC Chapel Hill MBA, he co-founded the Greensboro wealth management firm with Mackay Salley in 2003. The duo previously worked for Franklin Street Partners. The firm has more than $1.6 billion under management. 

TUNDE SOTUNDE

president, CEO | Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina

Durham

The native of Nigeria, 55, previously managed Medicaid services for health insurance giant Anthem before joining the state’s largest health insurer in 2020. The pediatrician is a graduate of the University of Ibadan College of Medicine in Nigeria. He has a University of Memphis MBA.

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ERIC STEIGERWALT

president, CEO | Brighthouse Financial

Charlotte

The Drew University graduate joined MetLife in 1998 and has led Brighthouse, a large annuity seller, since its spinoff in 2017. The company had a $3.8 billion market cap in late March. He is on the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council, a CEO group.

DANA STONESTREET

president, chairman, CEO | HomeTrust Bank

Asheville

The West Liberty State College graduate, 67, joined the bank in 1989 and gained the top post in 2013. It’s the second-largest North Carolina community bank with assets of $3.7 billion.

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SOPHIA WAJNERT

Research Triangle Park site manager | Credit Suisse

Raleigh

The American University graduate has overseen the financial-services company’s $100 million, 1,200-job North Carolina expansion announced in 2019. After working for Deutsche Bank, she joined Credit Suisse in 2008 and now leads its global culture strategy initiative.

THAD WALTON

N.C. commercial banking manager | Regions Bank

Charlotte

The UNC Chapel Hill graduate and Rowan County native, 38, joined Regions in 2011 after working for First Citizens Bank.

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JOHN WARD

executive vice president for the Triangle and eastern North Carolina | Wells Fargo

Raleigh

Ward, 56, leads the bank’s work with eastern North Carolina businesses. He’s an East Carolina University graduate who joined First Union in 1988.

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MARY WILLIS

president, CEO | Fidelity Bank

Fuquay-Varina

Willis has led the 111-year-old bank since 2010 after starting there as a part-time teller at age 17 in 1987. It now has 54 locations and $2.6 billion in assets. The East Carolina University graduate has spent her entire career at the company.

RON WOOTEN

co-founder, managing partner | NovaQuest Capital Management

Raleigh

The UNC Chapel Hill graduate and former NFL player helped lead the private equity firm’s spinout in 2010 from the former Quintiles, now Iqvia. It manages
$2.75 billion in life-sciences and health care investments. Other founders include John Bradley and Jonathan Tunnicliffe.

MARK YUSKO

founder, chief investment officer, CEO | Morgan Creek Capital Management

Chapel Hill

After managing UNC Chapel Hill’s investments for six years, Yusko in 2004 founded his own company with $1.5 billion under management as of January. Yusko, who is active in cryptocurrency investing, has a bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame University and a University of Chicago MBA.

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