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Coral Gables-based Amerant Bank names new CEO

Rob Wile
·2 min read

Amerant Bank has named a new CEO, as longtime chief Millar Wilson announced his retirement.

Jerry Plush, currently a partner at Pennsylvania-based Patriot Financial Partners, L.P., will become CEO Feb. 15, when Wilson, who’s helmed the Coral Gables bank for a decade, will step down. Before his time with Patriot, Plush served in a number of senior executive leadership roles with Santander Holdings USA, Webster Bank and MBNA America.

Wilson has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Mercantil Bank Holding Corporation since 2009, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Mercantil Bank, N.A. since 2013 and as a director since 1987.

“Amerant today is the leading, independent community bank in Florida we dreamed of all those years ago, made possible by the incredible team I had the pleasure of working alongside for the past four decades, and by the guidance and support of our Board of Directors,” Wilson said in a statement.

“On behalf of the entire Board and the Amerant team, we are truly grateful for Millar’s more than 40 years of dedication to our organization,” said Amerant chairman Rick Copeland in a statement. “During his 12-year tenure as CEO, Millar oversaw the growth and expansion of the company in Florida, Texas and New York, increasing the bank’s assets from $6 billion to nearly $8 billion. He also spearheaded our recent spin-off and subsequent listing and public offering of Amerant on the NASDAQ in 2018; initiated and led our transformation strategy, and expertly navigated us through one of the most challenging years in history. We could not have asked for a better leader and wish him all the best in his very well-deserved retirement.”

Copeland said Plush “is recognized and respected industry-wide, and brings years of experience in corporate, commercial, small business and retail banking. We are confident his unmatched background will be uniquely valuable to drive this strategy as well as Amerant’s growth as a best-in-class community bank.”

Mercantil became Amerant in 2018; it went public that same year on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker AMTB, but has struggled to achieve consistent share-price growth.

The bank, which has operated for more than 40 years, is one of the largest community banks headquartered in Florida, with about 800 employees. It operates 25 banking centers — 18 in South Florida, 7 in the Houston, Texas, area — and loan production offices in Dallas, Texas and New York.