ServisFirst Bank CEO: “Be humble and be hungry”

ServisFirst 2013Tom Broughton, Chief Executive Officer of ServisFirst Bank, made a return visit to the Collat School of Business on November 19, 2013 when he spoke with students in the combined MBA and undergraduate capstone class “Strategic leadership through the eyes of the C-Suite.”

Broughton recently told the Birmingham Business Journal that his life motto was “Be humble and be hungry.” A team of students who had studied the strategy of ServisFirst noted that this attitude might well cause strategy expert Jim Collins to classify Broughton as a “Level Five Leader” using the criteria in Collins’s book Good to Great

Broughton’s strategy at ServisFirst has indeed been a success. From its start date in 2005, the bank has grown to have assets in excess of $3.5 billion with offices in three states. Mr. Broughton and ServisFirst Bank have received numerous awards, including Broughton’s being named the 2009 “Community Banker of the Year” for the entire United States by American Banker newspaper. He was the first Alabama banker ever to receive this prestigious award.

Broughton compared his strategy at ServisFirst to that of Southwest Airlines: keep your business simple.  Like Southwest, ServisFirst does not try to be all things to all people. Rather, the company aims to meet the needs of small to mid-sized businesses and their owners in urban areas.

The label “serial entrepreneur” fits Mr. Broughton. At the age of 29, he founded First Commercial Bank. That bank was acquired by Synovus Bank in 1992, and Mr. Broughton remained with that organization in steadily more senior management positions until leaving to create ServisFirst.

“Strategic leadership through the eyes of the C-Suite” is taught by School of Business professor Stephen Yoder, and features visits from CEOs of public or other large complex organizations who discuss their organizations’ strategies and how they are developed and implemented.