Corporate Leadership

Executive Management

Dennis J. Zember Jr.
Dennis J. Zember Jr.
Ameris Bancorp President and Chief Executive Officer Ameris Bank Chief Executive Officer
Dennis J. Zember Jr. Dennis J. Zember, Jr has served as Ameris Bancorp President and Chief Executive Officer, since July 2018 and Ameris Bank Chief Executive Officer since January 2018. Previously, Zember served as Ameris Bank executive vice president and chief operating officer and Ameris Bancorp executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer since February 2005. Prior to joining Ameris Bank, Zember served as senior vice president and treasurer of Flag Financial Corporation and senior vice president and chief financial officer of Flag Bank from January 2002 to February 2005. He also served as vice president and treasurer of Century South Banks, Inc. from August 1997 to May 2001.
Lawton E. Bassett III
Lawton E. Bassett III
Ameris Bank President Ameris Bancorp Banking Group President
Lawton E. Bassett III Lawton E. Bassett, III, has served as Ameris Bank president and Ameris Bancorp Banking Group president, since February 2017. Prior to his current position, Bassett served as executive vice president and chief banking officer for the Company’s Georgia and Alabama regions beginning January 2016, and regional president and market president from 2006 to 2016. From 2003 to 2006, he served as president and chief executive officer of Citizens Security Bank, formerly a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. Prior to joining the Company, Bassett served in various commercial lending and leadership roles at Barnett Bank and SunTrust.
Nicole S. Stokes
Nicole S. Stokes
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ameris Bank and Ameris Bancorp
Nicole S. Stokes Nicole S. Stokes has served as Ameris Bank and Ameris Bancorp executive vice president and chief financial officer since January 2018. Stokes joined Ameris Bank in December 2010 as controller, and served as Ameris Bank chief financial officer beginning June 2016. Prior to joining Ameris Bank, Stokes served as chief financial officer of PAB Bankshares and Park Avenue Bank in Valdosta, Georgia, controller of The Bank in Birmingham, Alabama and senior auditor of Synovus Financial Corporation in Columbus, Georgia.
Jon S. Edwards
Jon S. Edwards
Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer
Jon S. Edwards Jon S. Edwards has served as Executive Vice President and Director of Credit Administration since May 2005. He was Executive Vice President and Regional Bank Executive for Southern Division from August 2002 through April 2005. Mr. Edwards served as the Director of Credit Administration from March 1999 to July 2003 and Senior Vice President from March 1999 to August 2002. He was a Director of each subsidiary bank in the Southern Division from September 2002 through April 2005.
Joseph B. Kissel
Joseph B. Kissel
Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Joseph B. Kissel Joseph Kissel has served as executive vice president and chief information officer since July 2016. Prior to joining Ameris Bank, Mr. Kissel served in various executive positions including chief information officer at BankUnited, chief technology officer at Wells Fargo Bank’s Home Equity Division, director of internal operations for Wachovia Bank’s Mortgage Systems and chief information officer at World Savings Bank.
James A. LaHaise, III
James A. LaHaise, III
Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer
James A. LaHaise, III James A. LaHaise III has served as executive vice president and chief strategy officer since June 2018. Prior to this role, he served as executive vice president and chief banking officer for Georgia and Alabama since January 2016. He was executive vice president and commercial banking executive from June 2014-January 2016. Mr. LaHaise served as president and chief executive officer of Coastal Bankshares, Inc. and The Coastal Bank from January 2013-June 2014. He was executive vice president and chief banking officer of The Coastal Bank from May 2007 – January 2013.
Cindi H. Lewis
Cindi H. Lewis
Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and Corporate Secretary
Cindi H. Lewis Cindi H. Lewis has served as the Chief Administrative Officer since May 2006, Executive Vice President since May 2002 and Corporate Secretary since May 2000. Ms. Lewis was the Director of Human Resources from May 2000 to May 2006 and Senior Vice President from May 2000 to May 2002.
William D. McKendry
William D. McKendry
Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer
William D. McKendry William (Bill) McKendry has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer since September 2017. Prior to joining Ameris Bank, Mr. McKendry served as executive vice president and chief risk officer for Bank of North Carolina. Prior to that, he served as deputy general auditor at First Citizens Bancshares and as an audit & consulting leader for both Wachovia and Bank One Corporation.

Board of Directors

Daniel B. Jeter
Daniel B. Jeter
Chairman
Daniel B. Jeter Daniel B. Jeter has served as a Director of Ameris Bancorp since 1997 and as a Director of Ameris Bank since 2002. He has been Chairman of the Board and on the Board of Directors of the Bank since May 2007. He also serves on the community bank Board for the Company’s Moultrie, Georgia market. Mr. Jeter is the Chairman and Co-Owner of Standard Discount Corporation, a family-owned consumer finance company. He joined Standard Discount Corporation in 1979 and is an Officer and Director of each of Standard Discount Corporation’s affiliates, including Colquitt Loan Company, Globe Loan Company of Hazelhurst, Globe Loan Company of Tifton, Globe Loan Company of Moultrie, Peach Finance Company, Personal Finance Service of Statesboro and Globe Financial Services of Thomasville. He is Co-Owner of Classic Insurance Company, a re-insurance company, and President of Cavalier Insurance Company, a re-insurance company. Mr. Jeter is also a Partner in a real estate partnership that develops owner-occupied commercial properties for office and professional use. He serves as a Director and an Officer of the Georgia Industrial Loan Corporation and as a Director of Allied Business Systems. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia. Mr. Jeter’s extensive experience in financial services, with a particular emphasis on lending activities gives him invaluable insight, and affords him a greater understanding of, the Company’s operations in his service as Chairman of the Board. As a long tenured member of the Board, he has been closely involved in the Company’s expansion into new markets in recent years.
Dennis J. Zember Jr.
Dennis J. Zember Jr.
Ameris Bancorp President and Chief Executive Officer
Dennis J. Zember Jr. Dennis J. Zember, Jr has served as Ameris Bancorp President and Chief Executive Officer, since July 2018 and Ameris Bank Chief Executive Officer since January 2018. Previously, Zember served as Ameris Bank executive vice president and chief operating officer and Ameris Bancorp executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer since February 2005. Prior to joining Ameris Bank, Zember served as senior vice president and treasurer of Flag Financial Corporation and senior vice president and chief financial officer of Flag Bank from January 2002 to February 2005. He also served as vice president and treasurer of Century South Banks, Inc. from August 1997 to May 2001.
William I. Bowen Jr.
William I. Bowen Jr.
Funeral Services
Bowen-Donaldson Home for Funerals
William I. Bowen Jr. Williams I. Bowen, Jr. has served as a Director of Ameris Bancorp since 2014. Mr. Bowen is a partner and the President of Bowen-Donaldson Home for Funerals. He also serves as managing partner of Bowen Farming Enterprises, LLC, a timber, cattle, cotton and peanut farming operation, Bowen Land and Timber, LLC, and Fulwood Family Partnership, a farming and real estate development firm. Mr. Bowen has served as a member of the community board of Ameris Bank, the wholly owned banking subsidiary of the Company, for the Tifton, Georgia market since 2012.
R. Dale Ezzell
R. Dale Ezzell
Printing Services
Wisecards Printing
R. Dale Ezzell R. Dale Ezzell has served as a Director of Ameris Bancorp and as a Director of Ameris Bank since 2010. Mr. Ezzell served as a Director of Southland Bank, formerly a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, from 1983 until the merger of Southland Bank into the Bank in 2006. He also served as Southland Bank’s Chairman from 1995 until such merger. Mr. Ezzell currently serves as Chairman of Ameris Bank’s community Board in Dothan, Alabama. Mr. Ezzell is the Founder and Owner of Wisecards Printing and Mailing, a direct mail advertising business in Abbeville, Alabama. Prior to establishing Wisecards in 2001, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Ezzell’s Inc., which operated several department stores in southeast Alabama and southwest Georgia, from 1987 to 2000. Mr. Ezzell holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Auburn University and resides in our Abbeville, Alabama market. His years as a director of a subsidiary bank, along with his varied business and practical experience, give him a valuable understanding of the challenges faced by the Company and its customers.
Leo J. Hill
Leo J. Hill
Independent Director
Transamerica Mutual Funds
Leo J. Hill Leo J. Hill has served as a Director of Ameris Bancorp and Ameris Bank since January 2013. Mr. Hill currently serves as lead independent director for several Transamerica mutual funds and is the owner of Advisor Network Solutions, LLC, a consulting services firm. He became a Transamerica director in 2001, currently serves on the audit committee, and previously chaired the governance, nominating and valuation committees. Prior to his service with Transamerica, Hill held various positions in banking, including Senior Vice President and Senior Loan Administration Officer for Wachovia Bank of Georgia’s southeastern corporate lending unit, President and Chief Executive Officer of Barnett Treasure Coast Florida with Barnett Banks, and Market President of Sun Coast Florida with Bank of America. Mr. Hill has also gained knowledge through work with various organizations including the Investment Company Institute, the Conference of Fund Leaders, National Association of Corporate Directors, and the Institute for Independent Business.
Robert P. Lynch
Robert P. Lynch
Automobile Sales
Lynch Management Company
Robert P. Lynch Robert P. Lynch has served as a Director of Ameris Bancorp since 2000 and as a director of Ameris Bank since February 2006. Mr. Lynch is the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Lynch Management Company, which owns and manages five automobile dealerships located in the Southeast. He has been with Lynch Management Company for more than 25 years. Mr. Lynch’s family also owns and operates Shadydale Farm, a beef cattle operation located in Shady Dale, Georgia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida and resides in our Jacksonville, Florida market. His business experience is extensive and varied, which gives him a firsthand understanding of the challenges faced by not only the Company but also its commercial customers. This understanding informs his service as a director and is a key benefit to the Board.
Elizabeth A. McCague
Elizabeth A. McCague
Founder and Mediator McCague & Company
Elizabeth A. McCague Beth A. McCague has served as a Director of Ameris Bancorp and Ameris Bank since August 2016. Ms. McCague currently serves as a consultant for the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund where she is responsible for the management of the $1.6 billion pension portfolio and the administration of benefits. She also provides mediation services for resolution of financial disputes at McCague & Company, LLC. Ms. McCague earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Florida and her Master of Business Administration from Jacksonville University. The Florida State Supreme Court certified McCague as a county and civil court mediator.
William H. Stern
William H. Stern
President & CEO - Real Estate
Stern & Stern and Associates
William H. Stern Mr. Stern currently serves as President and CEO of Stern & Stern and Associates, a real estate development firm. Mr Stern is also Chairman of Ameris Bank’s community board for the State of South Carolina, and is Chairman of the South Carolina Ports Authority.
Jimmy D. Veal
Jimmy D. Veal
Event Services
Beachview Event Rentals & Design
Jimmy D. Veal Jimmy D. Veal has served as a Director of Ameris Bancorp and Ameris Bank since May 2008. Mr. Veal was a Founding Director of Golden Isles Financial Holdings, Inc., which was the corporate parent of The First Bank of Brunswick prior to its acquisition by Ameris Bancorp and subsequent merger into Ameris Bank. He served as a Director of both Golden Isles Financial Holdings, Inc. and The First Bank of Brunswick from their inception in 1989 until their acquisition by the Company in 2001 and as Vice Chairman of both companies from 1996 until 2001. Mr. Veal currently serves as Chairman of Ameris Bank’s community board in Brunswick, Georgia. Mr. Veal has been active in the hospitality industry for over 35 years. He currently owns and operates, together with his family, Beachview Event Rentals & Design in Woodbine, Georgia. He is also active in various real estate and timberland ventures in Glynn County, Georgia and Camden County, Georgia. In addition to his experience in banking, he has gained knowledge of many and varied industries and sectors of the economy, which provides him a unique and eneficial perspective for his service on the Board.