Studio Bank founder rolls out big-name board


Aug 24, 2017

Real estate and music sectors well represented; CFO comes from Mississippi bank being bought

The organizers of Studio Bank have submitted to state regulators their first formal papers and unveiled some more executives who will help launch Nashville’s first de novo bank since 2008.

Founder Aaron Dorn, who left Avenue Bank two years ago after being its chief strategy officer, on Thursday morning also released the names of the board members backing his efforts.

Studio Bank’s first CFO will be Greg Barron, who had since 2007 held the same position at Mississippi-based Metropolitan BancGroup, which has a local operation and is being bought by Renasant Corp. Richard Bynum will be Studio’s chief credit officer, a role he also held at Avenue until leaving in early 2016 — after Pinnacle Financial Partners said it would buy Avenue — for Clarksville-based First Advantage Bank.

Barron and Bynum add to the list of people previously known to be helping Dorn launch Studio, which last week reported it has raised $4.3 million in seed funding:

• COO Larry Dorris, a former operations leader at Avenue and a private banking executive at Regions Bank before that

• Chief Experience Officer April Britt, who was Avenue’s chief people officer before it was absorbed by Pinnacle Financial Partners last year

• Chief Relationship Officer Harry Allen, a former Avenue and Pinnacle lender who specializes in working with nonprofits

• Seth Butler, a former commercial real estate lender who spent almost a decade at Avenue

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• Andrew Blahnik, a former Avenue banker specializing in process improvement work.

Their work is being supported by a board of directors that — in addition to Dorn — includes a former state commissioner, one of the area’s top real estate developers and plenty of other of well-known Nashville names. On the board are:

• Howard Bluver, former president and CEO of Suffolk County National Bank in New York

• Ron Corbin, the locally based former leader of of AllState Insurance’s Southern Region who now runs RBBC Holdings

• Josh Deutsch, chairman and CEO of Downtown Records in New York City

• Pat Emery, president of Spectrum|Emery and the man behind 5th & Broadway and much of Cool Springs’ office construction over the past two decades

• Rod Essig, co-head and agent at Creative Arts Agency

• Sara Finley, a former general counsel at CVS Caremark and now principal of Threshold Corporate Consulting

• Rusty Gaston, general manager and partner at Nashville-based publisher THiS Music

• Mike Hardwick, founder and CEO of Brentwood-based Churchill Mortgage, which employs more than 400 people

• Matt Kisber, CEO of Silicon Ranch and former state commissioner of economic development

• Tara Scarlett, president and CEO of the Scarlett Family Foundation

• Pat Shea, the former president and CEO of YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee and founder and chair of the Womens Presidents’ Organization

• Kent Wood, owner of ImageQuest and Latitude, among others, and an investor in Healthcare TTU