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 was chairman of the board and of the board of directors of the Bank from May 2007 to December 2017. 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 in 1979 and is an officer and director of each of Standard’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 and President of Cavalier Insurance Company, both of which are re-insurance companies. 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.

William I. Bowen Jr.

Funeral Services
Bowen-Donaldson Home for Funerals

William I. Bowen, Jr. has served as a director of Ameris Bancorp and as a director of Ameris Bank since November 2014. Mr. Bowen resides in our Tifton, Georgia market, and he currently serves as chairman of the community board of the Bank for that market. He has served as a member of the community board since 2012. 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, Bowen Family Partnership and Fulwood Family Partnership, a farming and real estate development firm. He also serves as Trustee of Tift County Hospital Authority and is a member of the Georgia Board of Funeral Service. Mr. Bowen holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia.

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 May 2010. He served as a director of Southland Bank, formerly a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, from 1983 until the merger of Southland Bank into Ameris Bank in 2006. He also served as Southland Bank’s Chairman from 1995 until such merger. Mr. Ezzell currently serves as chairman of the Bank’s community board in Dothan, Alabama. He 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 Abbeville, Alabama.

Leo J. Hill

Independent Director
Transamerica Mutual Funds

Leo J. Hill has served as a director of Ameris Bancorp and as a director of Ameris Bank since January 2013. Mr. Hill is the owner of Advisor Network Solutions, LLC, a consulting services firm, and currently serves as lead independent director of Transamerica Mutual Funds. 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, Mr. 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. He has a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in finance, both from Georgia State University, and he is a graduate of Louisiana State University’s Graduate School of Banking. Mr. Hill is involved with the Investment Company Institute, the Conference of Fund Leaders, the 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 the Bank since February 2006. Mr. Lynch is the vice president and chief financial officer of Lynch Management Company, which owns and manages seven automobile dealerships located in the Southeast. He has been with Lynch Management Company for more than 30 years. Mr. Lynch’s family also owns and operates Shady Dale Farm, a beef cattle operation located in Shady Dale, Georgia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida. Mr. Lynch resides in Jacksonville, Florida and currently serves as a member of the community board of the Bank for that market.

Elizabeth A. McCague

Founder and Mediator
McCague & Company

Elizabeth A. McCague has served as a director of Ameris Bancorp and Ameris Bank since August 2016. Ms. McCague currently serves as chief financial officer for the Jacksonville Port Authority. She previously served as interim executive director and plan administrator for the Jacksonville Police and Fire Pension Fund, where she was responsible for the management of the $1.6 billion pension portfolio and the administration of benefits. Additionally, Ms. McCague provides mediation services for resolution of financial disputes through her business, McCague & Company, LLC. Ms. McCague currently serves on the UF Health Hospital Jacksonville board as the chair of the finance committee and will continue to serve in this capacity through 2019. She has previously served as co-chair of the University of Florida Capital Campaign, a six-year, $1.5 billion effort, and chair of the North Florida Bank’s Advisory Board. She was also formerly the chief operating officer of a software development company. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida and a master of business administration degree from Jacksonville University. The Florida State Supreme Court certified Ms. McCague as a county and civil court mediator. She resides in the Jacksonville, Florida.

William H. Stern

President & CEO - Real Estate
Stern & Stern and Associates

William H. Stern has served as a director of Ameris Bancorp and as a director of Ameris Bank since November 2013. Mr. Stern currently serves as chairman of the Bank’s community board for the state of South Carolina. Mr. Stern has been president and chief executive officer of Stern & Stern and Associates, a real estate development firm doing work throughout the Southeast, since 1980. He currently serves as chairman of the board of the South Carolina State Ports Authority and as a member of the board of the South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development.

Jimmy D. Veal

Event Services
Beachview Event Rentals & Design

Jimmy D. Veal has served as a director of Ameris Bancorp and as a director of 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 the Company and subsequent merger into the 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 the Bank’s community board for the Southeast Georgia Coast. Mr. Veal has been active in the hospitality industry for over 40 years. As a founding partner, together with his family, he co-owns and operated Beachview Tent Rentals, Inc. in Brunswick, Georgia until his retirement in 2018. He continues to serve as a consultant. He is also active in various real estate and timberland ventures in Glynn County, Georgia and Camden County, Georgia.

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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