Board of Directors

This group of accomplished professionals brings years of experience to the table to guide Ameris Bank into the future. Their long-term vision ensures the bank always lives up to its promises and delivers high performance.


Serving with purpose

James B. Miller, Jr.

Ameris Bancorp Chairman

James B. Miller Jr. has served as Chairman of Ameris Bank since July 2019. Prior to Ameris Bank, Mr. Miller served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Southern Corporation since its inception in 1979.  He graduated from Florida State University and Vanderbilt Law School. Mr. Miller served as a civilian army lawyer at Redstone Arsenal Facility in Huntsville, Alabama. He clerked at the Florida Supreme Court and ran Ageka Wohnungsbau GmbH in Berlin, Germany before acquiring Fidelity in 1976. He was elected a director of the Bank in 1976. Mr. Miller has served on many community boards and now serves as a Director of Interface, Inc. and American Software, Inc. He is a member of Peachtree Road United Methodist Church. Mr. Miller has three children and six grandchildren.

H. Palmer Proctor Jr.

Ameris Bank Chief Executive Officer
Ameris Bancorp Chief Executive Officer

Palmer has served as CEO of Ameris Bank and Ameris Bancorp since July 2019. Prior to his current role, Palmer held the positions of President and CEO of Fidelity Bank and President of Fidelity Southern Corporation, and served on the Boards of Directors of both. Palmer held numerous management positions at Fidelity Bank, including Senior Vice President of retail and consumer banking, trust and investments, bank operations, and commercial banking activities.

Daniel B. Jeter

Consumer Finance
Standard Discount Corporation

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. From January 2018 until September 2018, Mr. Jeter served as Lead Director of Ameris Bancorp and Ameris Bank. 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.

William I. Bowen Jr.

Funeral Services
Bowen-Donaldson Home for Funerals

William 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

Printing Services
Wisecards Printing

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

Independent Director
Transamerica Mutual Funds

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

Automobile Sales
Lynch Management Company

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

Founder and Mediator
McCague & Company

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

President & CEO - Real Estate
Stern & Stern and Associates

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

Event Services
Beachview Event Rentals & Design

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 beneficial perspective for his service on the Board.

Gloria O’Neal

Retired Executive Vice President
Fidelity Bank

Mrs. O’Neal was elected to the Board on July 1, 2019. She is a community activist and former Fidelity Bank Risk Control Executive until 2014. Prior to retirement, she held positions at First Atlanta and at Fidelity Bank, where she was Internal Auditor, Operations Manager, and Executive Vice President & Chief Risk Officer. She was a board member of Rotary and served as the Club’s Secretary and Treasurer, and was a Court Appointed Special Advocate for DeKalb County. She is a Dahlonega resident and serves on the Board of Dahlonega Baptist Church, is Treasurer of the Weekday Preschool in Dahlonega, GA, and is a member of Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) that serves not only the local community but internationally.

Rodney Bullard

Vice President of Community Affairs at Chick-fil-A, Inc.
Executive Director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation

Mr. Bullard was elected to the Board on July 1, 2019. He leads Chick-fil-A’s Corporate Social Responsibility.  Prior to his role at Chick-fil-A, Rodney served as an Assistant United States Attorney. Previously, Rodney was selected as a White House Fellow. As a White House Fellow, Rodney was placed at NASA working directly for the NASA Administrator. A decorated veteran, Rodney also served in the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps working as a trial attorney and eventually at the Pentagon as a Congressional Legislative Liaison in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.

Millard Choate

Founder and President of Choate Construction Company

Wm. Millard Choate was elected to the Board on July 1, 2019. Mr. Choate is Founder and Chairman of Choate Construction Company, which he founded in 1989. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, with BA degrees in Economics and Business. Mr. Choate is active in many organizations such as Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, Bright Futures Academy, Shepherd Center, Street Grace and Homestretch. He is a member of the Atlanta Rotary, various chambers of commerce, and several business organizations. Mr. Choate and his wife Sue live in Atlanta. They have two daughters.

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