Synovus taps SunTrust executive for chief financial officer

Kevin Blair, corporate treasurer at Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks, becomes chief financial officer of Synovus Financial Corp. as of Aug. 17. --
Kevin Blair, corporate treasurer at Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks, becomes chief financial officer of Synovus Financial Corp. as of Aug. 17. -- Photo courtesy of Synovus Financial Corp.

Synovus Financial Corp. has found the successor to its longtime chief financial officer Tommy Prescott, with SunTrust Bank veteran Kevin Blair stepping into the critical job at the regional banking firm.

Blair will join Synovus starting Aug. 17, the company said Monday, with him serving as executive vice president and chief financial officer. He has been with Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks for 18 years, most recently in the position of corporate treasurer.

“He is a deeply experienced banker and corporate finance executive, with a strong appreciation for the vital role banks play in serving customers and communities,” Synovus Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kessel Stelling said in a statement announcing Prescott’s job is being filled after he announced his retirement earlier this year.

With the move, Blair will join a regional bank responsible for about $29 billion in assets through its 253 branches in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee. Synovus, headquartered in downtown Columbus, is the parent company of Columbus Bank and Trust, the local market’s dominant financial institution. SunTrust oversees assets of about $194 billion.

Blair’s other work at SunTrust has included directing its commercial specialty business and heading its Georgia and north Florida region as CEO. His career started at Signet Bank in Richmond, Va., in 1995. He is on the board of directors of the Bank Administration Institute and the Atlanta Area Council for the Boy Scouts of America. He has served on boards with the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and America’s Second Harvest.

Prescott has been with Synovus nearly 30 years, the last two decades as its top financial officer, which included a very tough few years as the bank teetered financially during the Great Recession. That included three straight years of losses and federal regulatory oversight, which Synovus has put behind it and is now growing its business again.

“He’s been a rock in the management team,” Stelling said at the Synovus annual meeting in May. “If you think about what about our company went through and how Tommy had his steady hand on our financial reporting for all of those years, I think it’s just a great testimony to Tommy as an individual, as a leader and as a CFO.”

“It really took us through a valley that, I think in some ways, really taught us a lot, and we’ll move on from here,” Prescott said after the event.

Prescott, 61, said he plans to spend more time with family, traveling and perhaps becoming involved in some way to help other people in the community.

Synovus is scheduled to release its financial results for the second quarter on July 19.